Olmert, Abbas to meet in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas are to meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday to start working on a draft of 'declaration of principles' that will serve as the basis for future negotiations between the two sides.
The draft is to be presented at a November Middle East peace conference called by the United States in Annapolis.
"The meeting at Olmert's residence will signal the start of collaboration between teams from both sides towards formulating the document," officials said.
The text of about two pages, will summarise the agreements reached between the two leaders over the past six meetings and will include 'core issues' like Jerusalem, permanent borders, the right of return and security issues, they said.
However, significant differences remain between the two sides with Israel seeing it as a 'joint declaration of principles' and Palestinians looking for an 'agreement of principles' which will mark a clear progress on core issues of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Olmert now seems to be in favour of rejecting both the titles and is instead proposing a general "declaration of interests", daily
reported on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister's Office wants to word the document vaguely enough so as not to lead to a political meltdown in Israel owing to objections from coalition partners as well as some ministers in the ruling Kadima party, the daily said.