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Olmert, Abbas to talk statehood

The prospect of a Palestinian state will be on the agenda
when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meets with Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas.

Spokesmen for both leaders confirmed that a “political
horizon” for Palestinians, including statehood, would be discussed Sunday
at their meeting, although the emphasis will be on nuts and bolts humanitarian
and security matters.

The two agreed to regular meetings at the prodding of Condoleezza
Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State.

Pressure to discuss statehood represents a shift in
Bush administration policy, which until now has preferred to avoid final status
discussions until the sides are ready. Israel is especially wary of discussing final status issues
now that Abbas has entered a governing alliance with Hamas, a terrorist group
that embraces terrorism and rejects Israel’s existence.

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