International summit on status of Israel-PA talks scheduled for next month
Heads of Israeli, Palestinian peace negotiating teams to brief Quartet reps on progress at Egypt resort.
An international meeting on the status of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has been scheduled for November in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, according to a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem.
The meet will be held under the auspices of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - and will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Egyptian and Jordanian officials are also expected to participate.
During the course of the meeting, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiations team, and her Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Qureia, are scheduled to brief the Quartet representatives on the progress made so far in the peace talks. The briefing is expected to be general, and will likely not go into great detail on the various issues that have been discussed since talks were relaunched in November of last year.
Rice had asked Egypt to host the meeting before President Bush's term ends in January. Bush hosted a peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland a year ago and has expressed hope for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before the year's end.
In the coming days, Livni and Qureia are set to coordinate among themselves the messages that they will present to the Quartet in November. Rice is scheduled to arrive in Israel on November 6, several days before the scheduled briefing, for a series of preparatory meetings.
Meanwhile Wednesday, outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert spoke with U.S. President George W. Bush and the two agreed to meet at the White House in the near future.
Olmert's office said in a statement that the prime minister, who is acting in a caretaker capacity since tendering his resignation last month over a corruption scandal, spoke with the Bush by telephone. The two discussed "a range of issues."
A White House spokesman said the meeting would be before the end of Bush's term.