ARABS ISRAEL - Jun 21 - Summit Disappoints Palestinians.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders fail to resolve "all the basic
issues" facing them at their first summit since a February ceasefire was declared in February, the Palestinian PM said. The summit
with Israeli PM Ariel Sharon was "difficult" and "did not
live up to our expectations", Ahmad Qorei told reporters in the
West Bank city of Ramallah. "In all the basic issues for which we
were expecting positive responses, there were none", Qorei said.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had been scheduled to speak to
reporters after the summit, but sent Qorei instead an apparent sign of
Palestinian disappointment over the results. Nonetheless, Israeli
officials said Sharon told Abbas that Israel would hand over two more
West Bank towns and consider releasing more prisoners if the
Palestinians take step to end violence. Asked about the summit, Mohammad
Dahlan, the Palestinian minister in charge of coordinating Israel's
planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this summer, said: There was
nothing, nothing". Israel Radio reported that Sharon gave Abbas
permission to begin preparations for re-opening the Gaza Strip's
airport and harbour. The opening of the ports is seen as key to reducing
Gaza's isolation once Israel pulls out of the coastal strip this
summer. The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, was meant to step
up coordination of Israel's planned Gaza withdrawal.