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Abbas to attend Middle East mediators' meeting
November 2, 2008 / 12:24 PM / 9 years ago

Abbas to attend Middle East mediators' meeting

By Wafa Amr

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attend a Nov. 9 meeting of Middle East mediators in Egypt where negotiators will brief them on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, an aide said on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who resigned amid corruption allegations in September but remains in office until an Israeli election on Feb. 10, does not plan to participate in the meeting of the so-called Quartet, an Israeli official said.

Israel will be represented at the session, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who now heads the centrist Kadima party that Olmert once led.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to attend the meeting, three days after her return to the Middle East for further talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on a peace deal Washington had hoped to achieve this year.

A senior Bush administration official said on Thursday the Israeli election meant an agreement, held up by disputes over Jewish settlements and the future of Jerusalem, was all but impossible this year.

Nimmer Hammad, a senior Abbas aide, said the Palestinian leader would see Rice in the West Bank city of Ramallah before the Quartet meeting. The group comprises the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

The Palestinians want the Quartet to issue more than a general statement on the status of the peace process.

"We want the Quartet to specify that the Palestinian state would be set up on 1967-occupied lands with East Jerusalem as its capital," Hammad said.

"This should be presented to the new U.S. administration to pursue the peace process from there. Any amendments to the 1967 borders should be agreed and should be very minor," he said.

Diplomats said it was unlikely the United States would approve Abbas’s request to draft a paper defining the borders of a future Palestinian state, preferring to leave the issue to negotiations between the two sides. (Additional reporting by Adam Entous in Jerusalem, Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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