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Olmert urges Obama to pursue Mideast peace
Mon, Nov 24, 2008
prime minister Ehud Olmert said before White House talks today that
achieving a Palestinian statehood deal he and president George W. Bush
failed to seal should be a main goal of the Obama administration.
senior Israeli official said Mr Olmert, on a visit to Washington to bid
farewell to Mr Bush, delivered that message at a meeting with US
secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
"The prime minister stressed the importance
that the Annapolis process be continued by the next US administration
and Israeli government," the official said.
Mr Olmert, who leaving office in February
after a parliamentary election and formation of a new government, is
due to meet Mr Bush tonight for talks Israeli officials said would
focus on the peace process and Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The United States, Israel and the
Palestinians have all acknowledged they will not have a peace accord in
place before Mr Bush vacates the White House in January, missing a
target date set at the Annapolis peace conference a year ago this week.
Barack Obama, who visited Israel and the
occupied West Bank in July, pledged at the time - in an apparent jab at
Mr Bush's last-minute efforts to secure peace - not to "wait a few
years into my term or my second term if I'm elected" to press for a
Although Mr Olmert has vowed to pursue peace
until his last day in office - a pledge his spokesman said he repeated
to Ms Rice - public interest in Israel in the lame-duck leader's
policies is waning as the election campaign gathers speed.
Opinion polls in Israel show former prime
minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party leading the ruling
centrist Kadima faction in the election.
Mr Netanyahu has said he would focus peace
efforts on shoring up the Palestinian economy rather than on
territorial issues, a policy that could spell the end of the Annapolis
Mr Olmert’s successor as Kadima leader, foreign minister Tzipi Livni, has not
voiced support for his position.
© 2008 irishtimes.com
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