A chance to break the ice and encourage more substantive peace talks. That is how observers describe the first official meeting that took place on Thursday between the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian President. Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas had informal talks during a breakfast in Jordan, hosted by King Abdullah.
It was the first time the two leaders had met since Olmert assumed office in January. Abbas spoke to reporters on his return home. “We discussed preparations for a forthcoming meeting,” he said. “We need them to be thorough for the meeting to succeed. We’re going to start preparations next week.” The Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insisted that problems in the region are the result of what he called the ongoing Israeli occupation. As Palestinians bury their dead after another Israeli airstrike missed its target, it is reported Olmert told Abbas he felt “regret” over the recent deaths of 14 bystanders.