Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be based on the peace “road map,” Ehud Olmert said.
The Israeli prime minister said Sunday that the upcoming U.S.-sponsored conference on Palestinian statehood would serve to advance, rather than replace, bilateral talks.
“Toward the end of November, an international meeting to be held in Washington, with the intention of lending backing and encouragement to the diplomatic process. It is in no way a substitute for direct negotiations between us and the Palestinians,” Olmert told his cabinet.
He reaffirmed Israel’s vision of two-state coexistence with a future Palestine but said that “anything to do with implementing such a solution is predicated on making good on the road map, not just in terms of content but also of sequence”.
Announced by President Bush in 2003, the road map calls for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to enact a series of confidence-building measures ahead of a final peace accord.
Olmert’s remarks appeared to be a rebuff to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for next month’s talks to deal with final-status issues such as a border-setting, Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.