Livni and Fayad Meet, Discuss Improving Palestinians' Lives

Foreign Minister says impressed with Palestinian PM's resolve to 'change the reality', feels he is ready for action.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met Sunday with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad to discuss "improving the lives of the Palestinian people, without compromising Israel's security."

Livni and Fayad, who also holds the foreign minister's post, discussed "ways through which the Arab world could support the political process in a way that strengthens the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians," a statement said.

The two met for the first time since Fayad took office last month after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led unity government and established an emergency cabinet, headed by Fayad.

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 Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Political sources in Jerusalem said Sunday 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 formally present the Arab peace initiative.

The Arab initiative, drafted at a March 2002 meeting of the Arab League in Beirut, calls for the full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.