RealNews

Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Meet to Ease Tensions

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, met here on Thursday to try to dispel the tensions of recent days, and they recommitted themselves to refrain from acts that would prejudice a final peace treaty while they try to negotiate one, officials from both sides said. This was the first meeting of the two men since the Middle East conference convened by the United States in Annapolis, Md., a month ago, when they agreed to try to negotiate a final peace settlement before the end of 2008. Their negotiating teams had met twice since then, but both times fruitlessly, as mutual grievances were aired. Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert get along well, their aides say, and Thursday’s meeting in Mr. Olmert’s official residence here was described as cordial and positive. The two men met with their three lead negotiators for an hour, then met alone for another hour, but little of substance emerged regarding the task before the two sides. Full Story

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