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Blair, Olmert Discuss Push for Middle East Peace Talks

  • VOA News

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he will make "every possible effort" to negotiate peace with the Palestinians.

Speaking Monday in London alongside British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Olmert said Israel would give the Palestinians more time before acting unilaterally to withdraw from most of the West Bank and establish a firm border.

However, he said peace talks can only take place after terror ends in the Middle East.

For his part, Mr. Blair said he hoped the Palestinians can accept the conditions of the so-called roadmap for peace and resume talks, because he said, a negotiated settlement would be "the best thing." Mr. Blair also renewed a call for the Hamas-led Palestinian government to accept Israel's existence and to renounce violence.

Last week, Hamas's militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, ended a 16-month truce with Israel, after Israeli strikes killed three militants and seven Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Olmert's two-day London visit is part of a tour of Arab and European capitals launched after his election in March. He goes to France on Tuesday to meet with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin. He visited the White House last month.

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