Olmert to Meet Palestinian President to Discuss Peace Plan

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge resumption of negotiations on an internationally backed peace plan.

At a news conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after their talks. Olmert said he would insist that the Palestinians carry out their commitments under the plan, known as the "road map." Those include dismantling violent groups. Abbas, a moderate, has tried to control militants through negotiations, but the Hamas victory in elections and formation of a government have undermined his efforts.

Olmert said his first priority is to resume peace talks, leaving his plan to unilaterally draw Israel's border with the West Bank as a second option. Mubarak agreed that negotiations should be pursued and did not comment directly on Olmert's unilateral plan.

Olmert said, "I really hope that our Palestinian partners will take advantage of this opportunity and will implement all their commitments so that it will be possible to proceed according to the road map."

CountryWatch: Israel

Mubarak refused to give his opinion over a dispute between the Hamas-led Palestinian government and moderate President Mahmoud Abbas over a document implicitly recognizing Israel. He opposed a referendum, saying the two sides must work out their differences.

Abbas has threatened to call a referendum if Hamas does not accept the document by Tuesday.

Olmert did not give a date for his meeting with Abbas, the first summit meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since February 2005.

Olmert began his remarks by expressing "deep regret" over a weekend incident on the Egypt-Israel border in which Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Egyptian policeman. Olmert said there would be a joint investigation "to ensure that this will never happen again."