Students: Olmert agreed to negotiate; PMO denies

The National Student Union announced on Tuesday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to negotiate with them after an eight-day student strike culminated in a protest outside the Prime Minister's Office on Monday. According to the students, the decision was reached Monday night after a meeting between Olmert, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Finance Minister Avhraham Hirchson. However, the Prime Minister's Office denied that Olmert had agreed to hold direct talks with the students, who are protesting high tuition rates and other reforms proposed by the Shochat Committee. In response, the students claimed that they had submitted their demands to Olmert's associates, and that it was the Prime Minister's Office that had come to them as part of the negotiations for lowering tuition.