Whatever the outcome of President Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union, the Paris summit at least seems to be generating some movement in the Middle East peace process.
Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert says that he and the Palestinians’ leader Mahmoud Abbas have “never been so close” to an agreement.
Abbas seemed to underline France’s recent role.
“You are as big a friend to us as you are for Israel, and this allows you to help us both complete the peace process in the next few months,” he said.
Cynics say we have been here before when, like Olmert today, Israeli leaders finds themselves in domestic political peril.
Olmert told a news conference: “Let’s try to avoid our worst common threats, essentially the one posed by the Iranian leadership, but without losing our concentration on the peace process. We have started an indirect process with Syria that we hope will become direct, but our absolute priority is the talks with the Palestinian Authority.”
Olmert added that the ongoing dialogue with Syria should not be allowed to get in the way of the talks with the Palestinians.