Olmert tells Blair he would meet Abbas

By Adrian Croft

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli leader Ehud Olmert told Tony Blair on Saturday he was ready to meet the Palestinian president as the British prime minister began a visit to try to revive Middle East peace negotiations.

But Olmert stressed that securing the release of a soldier captured by Gaza militants was top of the agenda ahead of any meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a stalled peace "road map".

"I assured Prime Minister Blair that I am ready to work closely with Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Abbas to implement the road map," Olmert told a news conference side by side with Blair in Jerusalem.

Blair said he believed it would be possible to make progress on the road map, which has been held up by the failure of both Israelis and Palestinians to meet commitments.

There is hope.......
Possibly, although what's his position like these days? I know that when Hamas won the elections and became the government the outgoing Fatah government went on a mass legislative binge to try and shift as much power as possible over to the office of the President, but what ever happened with that? Hamas was talking of trying to repeal as much as they could since they were a bit narked off about it.

How much notice of Hamas/the Palestinian government does he have to take? Hell, can he even negotiate without their say-so any more - its been an age since I last followed all this stuff?

Edit: And what a surprise that Tone's decided to jet off and play at being world statesman for a bit after the last week of the Labour party. I forsee much buggering off to enjoy the international limelight in the next year or so.
Glad to see that someone is trying to re-new the roadmap to peace although Blair's inability to condem some of the Israeli's worst excesses in the recent war in Lebanon means his stock with the Palestinians will be at an all time low.

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