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Olmert. Requests meeting
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Abbas. Concerned
Photo: AP
Olmert, Abbas due to meet next week
Prime minister requests meeting with Palestinian president before leaving for Washington, after latter expressed his fear that political crisis in Israel will harm peace negotiations
The Prime Minister's Office requested a meeting between Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, before the prime minister leaves for Washington on Monday, Ynet has learned.

 

Abbas recently expressed his fear that the political crisis in Israel will harm the ongoing peace negotiations between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Authority.

 

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders usually meet before one of them visits the United States. However, the Prime Minister's Office may be trying to ease Abbas' concerns, after the Palestinian president's spokesman said that "no doubt, what's happening will leave a negative impact on negotiations."

 

Officials in Ramallah hope that any agreement with the Olmert government will be honored by the next government in case of elections.

 

The prime minister will leave for Washington on Monday, and is scheduled to hold meetings with US presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain.

 

Olmert may be trying to conduct "business as usual", but Ynet has also learned that the prime minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not hold their weekly meeting Friday.

 

The meeting, the first between the two to be held in private since Barak demanded that Olmert leave office, was postponed to Sunday.

 

In spite of the dramatic political developments following the pre-trial deposition of American businessman Morris Talansky, the two plan to hold a discussion on diplomatic and security issues. Their associates explain that the two will not let the political tension interfere with the management of the State's affairs.

 

On Sunday the prime minister is also expected to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for the first time since she called on Kadima to prepare for elections. Livni has claimed that she would continue to work with Olmert pertinently.

 

"This is not a personal business. We are dealing with Israel's policy and we have to hold a matter-of-fact discussion," she clarified.

 

At this stage it appears that the prime minister will not take measures against Livni or Barak over their recent statements.

 

Ali Waked contributed to this report

 

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