Livni and Fayad Meet, Mull Improving Palestinians' Lives

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met yesterday with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayad, who is also functioning as PA foreign minister, to discuss "improving the lives of the Palestinian people, without compromising Israel's security," as well as the ways in which the Arab world could play a role in the political process.

Livni said after the meeting that she was impressed with the Palestinian government's and Fayad's personal "resolve to change the reality." She said she got the feeling that he is serious and ready to take action.

Last week, Fayad met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Early next week, while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is visiting the Middle East, a meeting has been scheduled between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Political sources in Jerusalem said yesterday that talks are being held in preparation for a possible visit to Israel by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Jordanian Foreign Minister Abed el-Ilah Khatib. The two will be visiting Israel as representatives of the Arab League and will formally present the Arab peace initiative.

Meanwhile, in Amman, Jordan's King Abdullah II conferred yesterday with the Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Mohammad al-Saqr, and voiced support for a move by Arab lawmakers to bring about reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, according to an official statement.