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News Brief

January 18, 2006
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Ehud Olmert said he would seek to restart peace talks with the Palestinians if elected Israeli prime minister. But Olmert, in his most wide-ranging policy statement since standing in for the ailing Ariel Sharon, demanded Tuesday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas crack down on terrorist groups as required by the “road map” peace plan. “I hope that I will be able to enter negotiations with him, for a permanent settlement between us and the Palestinians, on condition he upholds his commitments,” Olmert told reporters. Opinion polls predict an easy win for Olmert, who is heading Sharon’s Kadima Party, in the March 28 general elections. Talking tough on Iran’s nuclear program, Olmert said, “Under no circumstances, and at no stage, can Israel allow for someone who has such malicious intent to possess weapons of mass destruction.” But he declined to say whether this meant he would consider ordering a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran.

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