posted on Nov, 28 2004 @ 04:50 AM
In separate interviews, both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have both indicated a willingness to have a face
to face summit meeting. This may the first in a series of signs that the stalled Middle East peace process may be starting to move forward again.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview published on Sunday that he was ready to meet Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas and try to coordinate a Gaza pullout with a new Palestinian government.
In a separate interview also with Newsweek magazine, Abbas said he too was ready for a summit with Sharon, but after the Jan. 9 elections in the
Palestinian territories in which he is a leading candidate to replace Yasser Arafat as president.
"When they would like to meet, we will meet," Sharon said, when asked whether he was ready to meet with Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen.
Abbas, responding to a similar question, said that "after the elections, I'm ready to meet at any time with Sharon
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Both leaders are facing pressure from with their own groups. In addition, world nations are starting to bring pressure on both sides to restart the
peace process. Sharon who had refused to even consider Arafat now has no excuse but to resume steps towards peace. The Palestinian Authority, now has
the potential to elect the interim leader, Abbas, who will have greater support world wide and a less aggressive stance than Arafat. It will be
interesting to see how this all unfolds. I am leery however. Sharonís government is tenuous, and it seems in Israeli politics, whenever we get close
to peace, the government dissolves and we go back to square one.
[edit on 28-11-2004 by Banshee]