Contacts with Abbas will continue: Olmert
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday said he will continue his contacts with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "without interruption," but said he had no plans for a major Mideast summit.
Olmert spoke as the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in the region on a new diplomatic push aimed at bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer to a peace agreement. She was expected to announce a programme today for more substantive discussions of the most difficult issues, including security and the borders of an eventual Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"I want to remind you that there is constant contact between the Palestinian president and me, and this will continue without interruption in the future," Olmert said. However, he denied Israeli press reports that a major summit is in the works.
Olmert gave no details on the content of his talks with Abbas. The Israeli prime minister recently said he would not hold peace talks with Abbas following the formation of the Palestinian unity government between Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic militant Hamas group.
Olmert spoke at a news conference with the visiting UN chief, Ban Ki-moon.
Ban said he was working to win the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in a cross-border raid last July. The abductions set off a 34-day war. Ban, who has appointed a mediator to release the soldiers, declined to give details on his efforts.