Friday, April 11, 2008

More hopeless talks

By Khaled Amayreh in Occupied Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....According to Israeli press sources, the two leaders were updated on "secret talks" being held by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei on final status issues such as Jerusalem, the right of return, Jewish settlements and the borders of a prospective Palestinian entity in the West Bank.

During the meeting, which lasted for three hours, Olmert and Abbas agreed to hold biweekly meetings and keep up the "secret talks channel" in the hope of reaching a peace agreement before the end of 2008......

Prior to the latest Abbas-Olmert meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, who also participated in the meeting, said Israel had a number of "red lines" which she would cross under no circumstances. Israeli Army Radio, GaleTzahal, quoted Livni as saying that she hoped the international community understood that Israel wouldn't compromise on Jerusalem, the refugees and borders.

Hamas lambasted the latest encounter between Abbas and Olmert, calling it "a cover for further Judaising of Jerusalem and expansion of settlements". Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas's chief spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said: "It is lamentable indeed that Abbas has agreed to meet with this war criminal whose government oversaw the recent genocidal onslaught against the children of Gaza."......"

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