Photo: AFP
Egypt's Mubarak. Part of a process
Photo: AFP

Olmert: Agreement can be reached in 2008

Following meeting with prime minister in Sharm el-Sheik, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says, 'Gaza and the West Bank cannot be separated; it is time for one Palestinian state.' Olmert presents his plan for day after Annapolis: 'Ongoing, comprehensive and intensive negotiations'; adds PA commitments apply to Gaza Strip as well

SHARM EL-SHEIK – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday presented his plan for the day after the US-sponsored Mideast peace conference: "Ongoing, comprehensive and intensive negotiations" for the implementation of the vision of two states for two people.


Speaking at the end of his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheik, Olmert said that "the goal of the Annapolis meeting is to jumpstart of move of negotiations, which will lead us to deal with all the essential issues on the agenda – ahead of an agreement.


"The American hosts must understand," Olmert said, "That there won't be a full implementation of the agreement before all the commitments are fulfilled according to the Road Map peace plan.


"These commitments apply to the Gaza Strip as well," he clarified. "According to the Palestinian perception, the Gaza Strip is part of the Palestinian state. Naturally, if the Palestinian state must fight terror, this includes the Gaza Strip."


Mubarak, on his part, refused to talk about the conference's "failure or success", saying that it should be viewed as part of a process.


"The word failure means the end of the negotiations," he noted, adding that one could not talk about a Palestinian state only in the West Bank or only in Gaza. "It is time for one Palestinian state."

Olmert and Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheik (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO)


"We won't sit down and solve all the problems at once, after 60 years," Olmert told his host. "There will be difficult disagreements, there will be crises, there will be disputes. But I am hopeful that if we act in a cautious and responsible manner, there is a chance that we will eventually reach an agreement.


"I hope we can reach an agreement during the year 2008," the prime minister said, stressing that the negotiations "will not skip any issue standing between us and them," meaning that the talks will address all the core issues.


'Aren't we doing enough?'

The meeting also dealt with bilateral issues and with the efforts to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.


In a joint press conference after the meeting, the prime minister noted that his visit to Egypt was being held "under the difficult impression of the ongoing terror activities in the territories."


According to Olmert, "These activities are part of the terrorists' efforts to disrupt the attempts to reach a diplomatic dialogue, but they are also proof that greater efforts are needed on the part of the Palestinian Authority to fight terror.


"Israel is determined to halt the terror activities in Gaza, and will use all its force to prevent the ongoing infiltration of Hamas terrorists into Israel from the Gaza Strip," the prime minister said.


Asked by reporters about the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, Mubarak replied, "We have seized tons of weapons. Why are you saying we are not doing enough?


"If there is a problem, the security organizations must cooperate. Egypt is exerting a lot of efforts to stop the smuggling activities. If there is information, we will stop them."


The summit was held exactly 30 years after former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic speech at the Knesset. Asked by reporters when he plans to arrive in Israel for an official visit, Mubarak replied, "When the Palestinian problem is solved."


Olmert thanked his host, who is expected to head a special Arab League conference on Thursday, for his efforts to advance peace. "It is always nice and pleasant to be your guest," he concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 11.20.07, 13:26
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