maandag 14 juli 2008

Olmert kondigt vrijlating meer Palestijnse gevangenen aan

Terwijl op de conferentie van mediterrane landen de Turkse premier Erdohan aan Ehud Olmert een 'boodschap van vrede' van Syrië overbracht, verliet de Syrische minister van buitenlandse zaken de zaal voordat Israëls minister van buitenlandse zaken, Tzipi Livni een toespraak hield.
Ondertussen lijken Hezbollah, Hamas en Fatah in een concurrentiestrijd te zijn verwikkeld wie de meeste Palestijnse gevangenen vrij krijgt. Abbas heeft om de vrijlating van Palestijnse gevangenen gevraagd, omdat de deal met Hezbollah, waarin in een later stadium waarschijnlijk ook Palestijnse gevangenen worden vrijgelaten, hem zou schaden. Als Israël straks toestemt in de vrijlating van in totaal 1000 gevangenen in ruil voor Shalit (in twee of drie fases), hoeveel gevangenen moet Israël dan vrij laten om Abbas te 'compenseren'?
Tip: stel als voorwaarde voor de vrijlating van gevangenen voor Abbas de eis dat men ophoudt met walgelijke en absurde beschuldigingen als dat Israël nazi-achtige medische experimenten op de gevangenen uitvoert.
Olmert: Israel to free more prisoners
Jul. 13, 2008
Israel will release more Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised PA President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in Paris on Sunday.

The identity and number of prisoners to be freed were not discussed, nor was a timetable for the release.

Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said that the prime minister "agreed in principle" to a release, as a "gesture" to Abbas.

Israel Radio reported that Abbas said Israel's release of Palestinian bodies in the prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah undermined him.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the prisoners Abbas was demanding were mainly those sentenced before the Oslo Accords. He said Abbas also asked Olmert to reopen the Nablus institutions shut down by the IDF in the recent crackdown against Hamas, including a shopping mall Israel believed was funding Hamas activities. Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio that the two leaders would meet again on Sunday night.

Earlier Sunday, at the outset of his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Abbas, Olmert said that Israel and the Palestinians had "never been as close" to a peace deal than today.

Olmert said the time would soon arrive when both the Palestinians and Israelis would have to make critical decisions.

Olmert praised the meeting which he said was characterized by an atmosphere of "dialogue."

He stressed that Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations remained at the top of Israel's agenda, while he hoped to start direct talks with Syria "soon."

Sarkozy, during a trilateral statement, said he wanted to see greater French and European Union involvement in the Middle East peace process.

Olmert said he was very moved by the French initiative and that he welcomed the partnership of Sarkozy in the diplomatic process.

Abbas said he hoped an Israeli-Palestinian agreement could be wrapped up in the coming months.

Sarkozy, who looked extremely pleased to be flanked by Olmert and Abbas at the center of the world stage, said it was "a historic day" for all of the Arab leaders and the Israeli leadership to be sitting around the same table at the Mediterranean conference in the French capital.

The French president was obviously reveling in the spotlight and after the press conference, waded into the waiting French press to give a briefing on the talks.

Sarkozy told the reporters that the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit was a key to negotiations and that he had brought up the issue during talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the belief that the Syrian president could exert pressure on Hamas's Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal.

He also said he had brought a "message of peace from" Assad to Olmert.

Sarkozy said direct talks between Israel and Syria would likely begin after the new US administration was sworn in but stressed that France would try to expedite the process.

Olmert, by contrast, seemed to be avoiding the Israeli press and had not scheduled a briefing with the traveling reporters as is generally the case on state trips abroad.

Olmert also met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thanked him for his mediation efforts in the Israel-Syria negotiation.

Meanwhile, as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni addressed the gathering foreign ministers in Paris, her Syrian counterpart, Walid Moallem, walked out of the hall before her speech.

Livni said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need not be an obstacle to cooperation between countries in the region.

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