Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas met to discuss core issues a day after Olmert expressed sorrow at the plight of Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli prime minister and Palestinian Authority president met late Tuesday evening after the Ramadan fast in their effort to reach a peace deal before Olmert steps down following Kadima Party elections on Wednesday.
Olmert has been pushing for a partial peace deal, but Abbas wants a complete agreement. The sides have been stalled over core issues such as the right of return for Palestinian refugees, borders and the future of Jerusalem.
On Monday, Olmert expressed sorrow for Palestinian refugees who fled Israel in 1948.
“I join in expressing sorrow for what happened to the Palestinians and also for what happened to the Jews who were expelled from Arab states,” Olmert said at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Olmert asserted that the right of return could be deal breaker.
“Under absolutely no circumstances will there be a right of return,” he declared, “but we are prepared to be part of an international mechanism that will work to solve the problem.”