Washington to host Israeli-Palestinian peace talks Wednesday

July 29th, 2008 - 6:25 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Jerusalem, July 29 (DPA) Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is to travel to Washington Tuesday night for another round of peace negotiations with Palestinians under the auspices of US officials scheduled for Wednesday, the Israeli foreign ministry said. Former Palestinian premier Ahmed Qureia would represent the Palestinian side in the three-way talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Vice-President Dick Cheney and national security advisor Stephen Hadley.

The talks will take place against the backdrop of comments by Israeli premier Ehud Olmert Monday that put a damper on hopes for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

“I do not believe we can reach understandings this year which will include the subject of Jerusalem,” Olmert said.

Aside from this so-called core issue in negotiations, other key issues were “bridgeable,” the premier said.

A senior Palestinian official Monday described the Washington meeting as a “last chance” for the troubled negotiations.

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are being held amid a virtual media blackout, and with conflicting reports and little indication of whether or not there is any progress.

The US is putting pressure on the two sides to agree to a peace deal before US President George W. Bush’s term ends in early 2009.

Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged at the Annapolis peace summit in November to try and forge a deal by the end of 2008, and peace talks between the sides resumed - after a seven-year hiatus - around the turn of the year.

With allegations of corruption hanging over him, Olmert is facing an uncertain political future, while his relationship with Livni - seen as a possible future premier - is appearing increasingly hostile.
DPA

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