Gaza (Palestine) : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to hold a scheduled meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem later on Thursday during which he is expected to urge the Israeli side cease construction of settlements.
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) said in a statement that Abbas would urge Olmert to order cessation of all settlement constructions works in the Palestinian regions to jump-start a serious negotiating process, aspired to end up with a peace treaty by the year-end.
The meeting is the first to group the two leaders since the Annapolis peace conference, where the two sides agreed on launching negotiations with the aim of thrashing out final-status issues, such as establishment of an independent Palestinian state, determining status of Jerusalem, destiny of the settlements, plight of refugees, water-sharing and demarcation of border lines.
Abbas, during a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Wednesday, urged Washington to exert pressure on Israel to halt construction of settlements to pave way for the peace negotiations.
Palestinian radio quoted Nabil Abu Rudaina, official spokesman of the Palestinian Presidency, as saying Israel’s failure to commit itself to halt the settlement activities would render any negotiations between the two sides as senseless and fruitless.
Abbas, during Thursday’s meeting, will ask for an explicit stance concerning the cessation of the construction of the settlements, Abu Rudaina said.
Israel has recently declared plans to build scores of new settlements, contrary to the approach for peace.