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Photo: hurriyet.com
Israeli warplane fuel tanks
Photo: hurriyet.com
Olmert says sorry
Photo: AFP
Olmert to Turks: Sorry for any harm done
PM apologizes to Turks for unannounced flyover; Abbas and Olmert agree to only issue general declarations before Annapolis
Prime Minster Ehud Olmert said in a cabinet meeting Sunday that he had apologized to Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan and to the Turkish people for any violations of Turkish sovereignty that Israel might have been involved in recently.

 

In a response to accusations from Ankara that Israeli warplanes penetrated Turkish airspace in early September during a mission to strike a target in Syria, the prime minister said: "If Israeli airplanes did indeed enter into Turkish airspace, there was no intention to harm or undermine Turkish sovereignty."

 

A day after the strike in Syria, Turkey requested clarifications from Israel after two detached fuel tanks apparently from Israel fighter jets were found in Turkish territory. The popular Turkish daily Hurriyet published pictures that it claimed showed fuel canisters of an Israeli F-15 warplane which were found near the border with Syria a few hours after Damascus accused Israel of carrying out an air strike on its soil.

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan described the incident as "unacceptable" in a meeting with his counterpart Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem last month. Babacan also said that "everybody needs to operate in a restrained manner. All countries in the region must respect each other and avoid actions that raise tension in the area."

 

Only general declarations before Annapolis

During the cabinet meeting, Olmert updated his colleagues on his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He said that the two had "clarified that we will go to the meeting in Annapolis with general declarations. There is no intention to go to Annapolis with solutions but rather we will go with an obligation to continue negotiations that will deal with core issues in the future.

 

"When we will arrive to this agreement in the future, its execution will be made possible with a full implementation of the Road Map, in an uniequivocal manner, as it was clarified and agreed upon."

 

He added that negotiations with the Palestinians will continue after the Annapolis conference: "We will go to the negotiations after November, after Annapolis, with an intent to solve all the issues that will enable a Palestinian state that lives in security next to Israel, the state of Palestine as a state for the Palestinian nation and the State of Israel, a national state for Jews."

 


First published: 28.10.07, 17:43
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