Olmert, Abbas to meet next week

Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas will meet next week to discuss ways of building on the Hamas-Fatah schism. Aides to the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian Authority president said Thursday that they expected to meet Monday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the first summit since Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government and formed a moderate emergency Cabinet with international backing.The Olmert-Abbas talks will take place under the auspices of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah. The Egyptians and Jordanians, both facing restive Islamist opposition at home, have been especially troubled by Hamas’ violent seizure of the Gaza Strip last week, which triggered the Palestinian Authority’s political crisis.Olmert was meant to have met Abbas in the West Bank town of Jericho this month but that summit was canceled amid Palestinian Authority complaints about Israel’s refusal to hand over tax funds withheld since Hamas was voted into power last year. Now that Abbas has split with Hamas, Israel has indicated it will approve significant cash transfers. Olmert was expected to seek his Cabinet’s approval for the move on Sunday.

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