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BLAIR IN JERUSALEM

Olmert Tells Blair: 'I'm Ready To Return To Roadmap & Meet Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Without Prior Condition'

Blair To Olmert: 'The Tragedy Is Everybody Wants Peace But Plan To Get It Is Not Being Implemented'

Hamas Declares: 'We Do Not Recognize Israel & Reject the Partition Plan of 1947'

Olmert & Blair

On a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is trying to drum up momentum for reviving the Roadmap peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Starting in Jerusalem, Blair received a warm reception from his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert. Having now ditched his unilateral withdrawal proposal for the West Bank, the Israeli PM voiced support for the Roadmap's two state solution. Olmert also said he had no prior conditions for meeting with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Earlier, Olmert was quoted as saying the  Palestinians would first have to return the abducted Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit. Although Abbas is a strong backer of the Roadmap, Hamas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh are not.  Shortly after the joint Blair- Olmert news conference, Hamas issued a statement saying it would never recognize Israel nor the Partition Plan of 1947 which divided the British mandate into two separate Jewish and Palestinian entities.

David Essing

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