Israel will not remove illegal outposts in the West Bank as long as the Palestinians have yet to fulfill their security obligations as part of the road map, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday morning following her meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
Livni updated Hadley, who arrived in the region Thursday for a two-day visit, on the status of talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams. Both sides held another round of talks Wednesday evening.
"This is a complex process and we must handle it wisely in order for us to reach agreements after which the Palestinians will carry out their security responsibilities in the road map, and only then can Israel fulfill its part of the understandings," Livni said Thursday.
In her statements, Livni alluded to the main bone of contention between the two sides, namely the Palestinian view that the PA has already met its requirements as part of the first phase of the road map, and that it is incumbent upon Israel to reciprocate by removing West Bank outposts and freezing settlement construction.
Livni added that the U.S., the international community, and the Arab states play a vital role in the peace process, and that all parties involved must contribute their share in ensuring the success of the Annapolis summit.
"The Annapolis conference will not yield a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians but it is a stepping stone in the process," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a gathering of Israel Bonds representatives in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet privately Friday in the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, to discuss progress in the talks between the Israeli and PA negotiating terms ahead of the Annapolis summit next month.
Livni establishes special team of experts to assist negotiations in Annapolis
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday evening announced the establishment of a team of experts to serve as a go-between for negotiating teams from Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the Annapolis conference.
The team will be staffed by Israeli Middle East experts, legal advisors, IDF officers and personnel from the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry.
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