Erekat: PM rejects Egyptian initiative

Palestinian negotiator says Abbas asked Olmert to agree to truce during meeting in Jerusalem.

Abbas olmert walk 224.88 (photo credit: GPO)
Abbas olmert walk 224.88
(photo credit: GPO)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused to agree to an Egyptian initiative to arrange an unofficial ceasefire in Gaza, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday. Olmert's reported rebuttal came during an unscheduled meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem. Erekat said the meeting took place Sunday because Abbas was leaving Monday on the trip that will take him to the US. The intention appeared to be to keep the meeting at Olmert's official residence a secret. In the past, their frequent sessions have been announced well in advance, and news photographers are granted some access. Sunday's meeting was confirmed only hours before it took place. The two met just last week. Abbas is due to meet US President George W. Bush in Washington in April 23, and an Israeli official would say only that the meeting was meant to "coordinate" peace moves before the trip. He would not elaborate, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting's agenda was confidential.