Peretz aides: Impatience prompted Abbas phone call

According to sources close to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the defense minister has been interested in meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for some time, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has asked to be the first to meet the PA president, Israel Radio reported. The sources said that since the proposed meeting between Olmert and Abbas kept getting postponed, Peretz took matters into his own hands and called Abbas. They added that Peretz planned to be in touch with Abbas again in the future, but that the defense minister would not hold negotiations with him. The sources claimed no harm had been done by Peretz's phone call, which set off a round of criticism from MKs and the prime minister earlier Monday, and that it was perfectly legitimate that the two should discuss defense issues.