The meeting between both Israeli and Palestinian negotiators lasted for about two hours. Both sides described the meeting as positive. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei led the talks.
The status of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, West Bank settlements, refugees, and security and water resources were the core issues at the meeting. Qurei explains that the talks were positive and the issues were discussed in general terms. However, he warned that the path would be a difficult one.
“Past experience has show that when talks are held in the limelight they lead to the radicalisation of the positions and to the distortion of the things said behind closed doors; to a rise in expectation and to disappointment that eventually leads to violence,” Livni explains.
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave a warning on the difficulty of the deal.
“But I will be committing a sin to my duty if I didn’t try,” Olmert said.
U.S.s President George W. Bush said that both sides could sign a peace treaty within a year.
“I believe it’s going to happen, that there will be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office,” Bush said to reporters while in Ramallah on Thursday.
In a Sunday speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave warning that the Palestinians could not move ahead while Jewish settlements continued to be built in the West Bank.
Abbas also offered to restart talks with Hamas if it relinquishes control of the Gaza Strip.
However, Abbas’ speech was denounced by Hamas.