Abbas: Rice, Olmert meeting tense

PA leader and US Secretary of State Rice meet with King Abdullah in Jordan.

abbas rice 298.88 ap (photo credit: )
abbas rice 298.88 ap
(photo credit: )
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said his talks with the US secretary of state and Israel's prime minister were "tense and difficult," but not a failure. Speaking in Jordan on Tuesday after talks with King Abdullah II, the Palestinian leader said Israel may have "misunderstood" the agreement reached in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, between his Fatah faction and the Hamas group on February 8. "We told Israel that this agreement was made to protect the unity of the Palestinian people and its national interests," he told Jordan's official Petra news agency.
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  • Abbas: 3-way talks 'tense,' not failure "The agreement is an expression of support for Palestinian interests, but Israel may have misunderstood it," he added. Abbas held two hours of talks in Jerusalem on Monday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The summit ended with no new agreements, but the Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to meet again. Rice said she expected to return to the region soon to revive the 2003 internationally-backed peace plan known as the "road map". "The meeting was difficult and tense, but it was not a failure and it will be followed by other meetings," Abbas said. He said he expected to meet Olmert in the future, but he stressed that no date had been fixed. Abbas was on his way Tuesday to Germany, Britain and France where he is expected to seek European support for the plan to form a new Palestinian government. Abbas believes the new Cabinet will take a moderate position and should ultimately lead to the lifting of the West's financial embargo on the Palestinian Authority, which was imposed after Hamas took power last. The sanctions have blocked the transfer of $1 billion in aid. After Abbas talks with the king, the Jordanian palace issued a statement saying that Abdullah had pledged to "intensify Jordan's diplomatic efforts in the coming period to win international backing for ending the (economic) siege and to strengthen the position of the Palestinian negotiator in the peace process", a reference to Abbas. Abdullah said peace must be based on the "road map" plan, which envisions the creation of a Palestinian state, and the Arab peace initiative of 2002 Arab, which offers full recognition of Israel in return for its full withdrawal from Arab territory. The palace said that the king phoned Olmert on Tuesday and urged him to "reactivate the peace process with the Palestinians and overcome all obstacles that hinder the resumption of negotiations."