Despite the handshakes, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to do much more than reiterate previous commitments, after two hours of talks aimed at kick-starting the peace process in the Middle-East.
The talks, hosted by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stalled on the involvement of Hamas in the Palestinian administration.
She said: “The President and the Prime Minister discussed their views of the diplomatic and political horizon and how it might unfold towards the vision of the two-state vision of President Bush. The President and Prime Minister agreed that they would meet together again soon. They reiterated
their desire for American participation and leadership in facilitating efforts to overcome obstacles, rally regional and international support and move forward towards peace.
In that vain I expect to return to the region soon.”
The inclusion of Hamas in the the Abbas government calmed bloody fighting between Palestinians, but has proved the sticking point in these talks.
Hamas refuses to recognise Israel, even though today’s talks agreed a commitment to a two-nation solution.