Olmert-Abbas meeting postponed

Palestinians: Sides could not agree on subjects to be discussed. PMO confirms.

Olmert Abbas 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Olmert Abbas 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The meeting scheduled to take place in Jericho Thursday has been postponed to an unknown date, Israel Radio quoted Palestinian sources Wednesday. The sources said the meeting has been postponed because the sides could not reach an agreement regarding the subjects that would form the meeting's agenda. The Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem confirmed that the meeting has been postponed. On Tuesday Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he is working to achieve a cease-fire between the Palestinians and Israel. He said he will discuss the issue with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at their next meeting. The two were scheduled to meet in Jericho on Thursday. Sources close to Abbas played down the significance of the meeting, saying the Palestinians were not pinning high hopes on the Abbas-Olmert talks. "I'm seeking a truce with Israel," Abbas said in a speech on the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. "The truce must be comprehensive and mutual in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip." Abbas said he was planning to raise other issues during the meeting with Olmert. "It's my duty as the elected president of the Palestinians to bring up any issue in a forceful manner," he said. "I will raise the case of the fence and the harm it is causing to many villages and cities. In addition, I will raise the issue of settlement expansion, the release of Palestinian prisoners and our tax revenues that have been frozen by Israel." Abbas reiterated his criticism of the Kassam rocket attacks on Israel, saying they were ineffective and provided Israel with an excuse to launch military strikes against the Palestinians. He said he will urge Olmert to resume peace talks with the Palestinians "so that we won't continue to be stuck in the cycle of violence." Abbas expressed deep concern over the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and warned against the dangers of Palestinian civil war. "We are all worried by the anarchy," he said. "We are on the brink of civil war, and this has distorted the image of the Palestinians and caused our cause grave damage in the international arena." Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman was trying to arrange a summit between Abbas and Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, PA officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. Suleiman on Tuesday phoned Abbas and briefed him on the outcome of the talks between a senior Hamas delegation and Egyptian security officials in Cairo over the past week, the officials said. Jibril Rajoub, a former PA security commander closely associated with Abbas, said the upcoming meeting between Abbas and Olmert would be "a waste of time." He said any meeting that did not result in a unilateral cessation of Israeli military operations in both the West Bank and Gaza would not be satisfactory. "We must not pin high hopes on such meetings as long as they don't produce positive results," Rajoub said. "The two sides are just wasting their time." Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel scoffed at Abbas for agreeing to meet with Olmert.