The Palestinian Authority pledges to meet the security demands set by Israel, paving the way for negotiators from both sides to agree on a pre-summit understanding ahead of the upcoming Annapolis
peace conference, so said PA officials on Friday morning.
Palestinian and Israeli representatives, joined by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, may meet as early as next week to put together the crucial blueprint to future talks.
State officials in Jerusalem welcomed the Palestinian announcement and said the PA would be required to implement the security demands as part of the first stage of the Road Map, immediately following the conference.
In accordance with the Road Map, the Palestinians must combat terror groups within their territory as the negotiations with Israel commence. Israeli specifications of that clause entail fighting Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organizations – including violent offshoots of the ruling Fatah – as well as confiscating illegal weapons from the streets and dismantling terrorist militias.
Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni met on Thursday night with top Palestinian negotiator
Ahmed Qurei for the third time in recent weeks. Jerusalem officials had reported the meeting was successful, though they did not expect a Palestinian announcement till early next week.
"The message seems to have sunk in for the Palestinian side; they've accepted that we simply cannot move ahead until the security issue is dealt with," said State officials after Livni and Qurei's meeting.