A meeting that many hope will open a new chapter in Israeli-Palestinian relations. And there were welcome words to follow. Meeting at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheik, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both declared an end to the violence that has characterised relations between their two countries for the past five years.Lending weight to the talks, King Abdullah of Jordan and host, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. But it fell to President Abbas to first declare a ceasefire for all Palestinian operations targeting Israelis. He went on to say that he hoped this initial step would lead to a more lasting settlement as the two sides continued to work together. Likewise, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced an end to all Israeli military operations against the Palestinians. While the aim of today’s meeting was to bring a formal end to Israeli-Palestinian violence, in the long-run they are hoping to revive US-backed “road map”. This envisages the establishment of a Palestinian state to co-exist beside a secure Israel. But the eventual success of the talks hangs on the truce holding. The next few weeks will be crucial to see if everyone will go along with the ceasefire.
Landmark meeting raises hopes for Middle East peace.