Sources: Abbas, Olmert to meet ahead Bush’s visit to the region

By Xinhua

Ramallah : A well-informed Palestinian source announced on Sunday that President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will hold a meeting in Jerusalem this week.

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The source at Abbas office in Ramallah, who spoke in condition of anonymity, said the meeting between the two men, will be held before the scheduled visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to the region on Wednesday.

“The aim of the meeting is to discuss the recent developments, which occurred after Annapolis peace conference held in November,” said the source, adding that “the meeting may come up with a declaration on launching talks on final status issues.”

Earlier Sunday, Israeli Radio Arabic service quoted well-informed political sources as saying that a meeting will be held between Olmert and Abbas “to show to President Bush that they exert efforts to achieve progress in the peace process.”

The meeting between Abbas and Olmert this week will be the second of its kind since Annapolis.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had earlier slammed the Israeli government’s decisions to expand settlements in the West Bank and for the Israeli military escalation in the Palestinian territories.