The prevention of weapons' smuggling was a key topic at a Sunday meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The meeting dealt with possible channels of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation.
Abbas and his associates presented a deployment plan for Palestinian presidential guards along the Philadelphi Route, as part of the effort to prevent weapons' smuggling to Gaza via Egypt.
The plan, according to American General Keith Dayton, also outlines the deployment of presidential guards along other areas of the Gaza border, in order to prevent terror operatives from launching Qassams, laying explosives and undertaking other violent activities.
The plan was derived as part of an effort to increase the strength of the presidential guards, using US support, in coordination with Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
At the meeting (Photo: Amos Ben Gershon, GPO)
During the meeting, Olmert and Abbas agreed on the continued operation of a multilateral committee comprised of Israelis, Egyptians, Americans and Palestinians, that will deal with the issue of weapons' smuggling prevention.
This committee has met several times in the past, but Olmert and Abbas both requested that the frequency of these meetings be increased.
The two leaders also both requested that the European Union continue to monitor and operate the Rafah border crossing, and asked that Karni crossing operating hours be extended to 11 p.m. starting Sunday, in order to aid in the transfer of Palestinian wares and humanitarian supplies.
Olmert requested that Abbas work to stop Qassam launchings immediately, prevent Hamas armament and secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
A source said that Olmert and Abbas did not discuss the Arab summit peace initiative during a comprehensive meeting, including Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The source did not report whether or not the two leaders discussed the issue one-on-one.
"It was a positive meeting, part of the ongoing dialogue which helps build confidence between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership," Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.
"The next meeting will be in a couple weeks and there's a strong possibility it will be in (the West Bank town of) Jericho," she added.
Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide, said: "This meeting is only the beginning. I don't think that one meeting can solve all the problems ... or (reach) the political horizon."
Following the meeting, Livni headed to Jordan, to discuss the latest version of Arab summit's peace initiative. The foreign minister will return Sunday night, to participate in events in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day.
Reuters contributed to this report