Olmert, Abbas pick up negotiations after seven-week freeze

Israel Materials 7 April 2008 16:11 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Jerusalem early Monday afternoon, their first parley in seven weeks, Olmert's office said.

Abbas had temporarily suspended negotiations, revived four months ago after a seven-year freeze in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to protest the killing of more than 125 Palestinians in a five-day Israeli military operation in Gaza a month ago, which had sought to retaliate against a surge in rocket attacks from the Strip.

Aids to Abbas said the Palestinian leader would use the parley to reiterate demands that Israel lift its economic blockade of Gaza, stop settlement construction in the West Bank and remove settlers' outposts.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian premier Ahmed Qureia, the parties' chief negotiators, were due to meet in Jerusalem too.

Israeli media quoted Livni as saying Sunday that she would present "red lines" in her negotiations with the Palestinians, including on the issue of security, the Palestinian refugee problem and holy sites.

It was the first time she publicly used the term "red lines," as part of a new strategy, the Israeli Yediot Ahronot daily reported.

"There are things we are able to compromise on, and there are things we cannot compromise on. Israel has no intention of compromising on the red lines and the international community needs to understand this," Livni said in a meeting with a Christian leader.