Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the stalled Middle East peace progress..
Mr. Olmert announced his decision at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair after the two held talks on Saturday in Jerusalem.
The Israeli prime minister said he assured Mr. Blair he will work closely with Mr. Abbas to implement the so-called "road map" on Middle East peace. Mr. Olmert also said his first priority will be the immediate release of an Israeli soldier Corporal Galid Shalit captured by Palestinian gunmen in a cross-border raid in June.
After the soldier was captured, Israel launched a Gaza offensive aimed at securing his release and targeting militants. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed in that operation.
Prime Minister Blair also is due to meet with Palestinian officials during his trip to the Middle East, which began on Saturday.