Jerusalem talks postponed by US and Israel

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert have agreed to postpone talks in regards to the status of Jerusalem in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Jerusalem talks postponed by US and Israel
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas reportedly rejected any move to delay the talks and also said the issue of refugees should remain on the agenda.

The number of Palestinian refugees is believed to exceed more than four million and are living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and inside the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Nimr Hammad, Abbas' senior political advisor and former representative to the PA in Italy, said on Monday the future of Jerusalem was crucial.

"The issue of Jerusalem is a fundamental issue and cannot be postponed. The president did not agree to postpone it," Hammad said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad told American Jewish leaders on Tuesday that a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis would not be possible by the end of 2008, unless the pace of negotiations is stepped up significantly.

Media reports said delaying discussions on the status of Jerusalem had helped Olmert hold his fragile government coalition together, after the ultra-religious party Shas threatened to quit the coalition if the issue of Jerusalem was included in peace negotiations.

Peace talks between Israeli and the Palestinians were revived by the Bush administration in November 2007 and the future of Jerusalem was among the issues in contention.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Şubat 2008, 11:06