Saturday, October 08, 2005

Weisglass-Erekat meeting 'positive'

From Ynetnews ...

Meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials defined as 'positive and serious'; a second meeting is scheduled for Sunday
Ali Waked

Special advisor to the prime minister Dov Weisglass and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat met Friday, less than a week before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is set to meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian sources said the Weisglass-Erekat meeting was "positive and serious," as it dealt with the implementation of the Road Map peace plan and the Sharm agreements. The Israeli side defined the meeting as "good and positive."

...The Palestinians have requested the release of thousands of prisoners, but have not yet received an answer from Israel.

During the meeting, Weisglass also clarified Israel's objection to Hamas' participation in upcoming PA elections.

...It was decided that a second meeting would take place, probably on Sunday, where Erekat and Weisglass could discuss the groundwork in more detail prior to the Sharon-Abbas meeting next week. Israeli officials said that should both sides reach an agreement regarding the agenda for Sharon's meeting with Abbas, the two leaders would get together on Tuesday. However, should no understanding be reached, the meeting would be postponed.

...The Palestinians said the implementation of the Road Map peace plan and Sharm agreements were discussed during the meeting, as well as an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns, the release of prisoners and a solution for Palestinians expelled from the country.

The Palestinians also demanded Israel stop all construction of settlements and the security fence. They said the issue of the Rafah border crossing and upcoming PA elections was also raised during the meeting.

...Meanwhile, the Quartet’s Special Envoy James Wolfensohn met with Israeli and Palestinians officials Thursday evening to discuss a solution for the Rafah crossing, in preparation for the Sharon-Abbas meeting.

Both sides agreed to a series of talks in a bid to reach a solution leading up to the summit next week.

- Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report

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