Hopes for a breakthrough in Middle East peace talks tomorrow have been hit by a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister. Ehud Olmert, who met his cabinet this morning, said neither Israel nor the US would cooperate with a new Palestinian unity government.
He said he spoke with President Bush on the phone and that both agreed they would shun any new Palestinian administration that did not recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous peace agreements. Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed to end in-fighting and create a cabinet of ministers from both sides.
US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who is on a visit to the region, is to meet Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow in a bid to break a deadlock in the stalled peace process. She has said Washington will not take a decision on the new government until it is finally formed. Rice is meeting Abbas separately today ahead of tomorrow’s summit.