PM promises to 'forge historic path' toward peace with Palestinians

On the eve of the first peace talks in nearly seven years, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday promised to "forge a historic path" toward a final settlement with the Palestinians. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet Wednesday to kick off talks aimed at reaching a peace agreement by the end of 2008. Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set the target at last month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Speaking at a business conference in Tel Aviv, Olmert acknowledged that the new dialogue is full of risks. He said Abbas's government is weak, and that Palestinian security forces are not yet capable of ensuring law and order in the West Bank. "This is an opportunity that entails many uncertainties, many risks, many dangers," Olmert said. "We cannot ignore them. But we absolutely must not allow uncertainty and risks to prevail because an opportunity also exists."