Close associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed Thursday that he would soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The sources claimed the Olmert’s Jordan visit and the expected meeting between Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah pave the way for the end-of-the-year meeting.
Further, Negotiations Minister Dr. Saeb Erekat also noted the two leaders were expected to meet soon. According to Erekat, there has been significant progress in advance of the meeting. Erekat added that contacts were continuing intensively, and when preparations were complete Abbas and Olmert would meet.
He noted that the Palestinian president has nothing preventing him from participating in such a meeting as soon as possible.
Independent Palestinian news agency Maan reported that the meeting was expected as
soon as Monday. According to the report, the meeting would be held as soon as most of the disagreements preventing the two from meeting were solved.
The main controversial issue is the release of prisoners – regarding which Israel agreed for the first time to select the prisoners to be released together with the Palestinians as part of a prisoner exchange deal. The report was not officially confirmed on the Palestinian side.