14 Jul 2008

Mideast peace described as close

6:37 am on 14 July 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel and the Palestinians have never been as close to a peace deal as they are now.

The BBC reports he was speaking on Sunday after talks in Paris with Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

They were at a meeting of 43 heads of state and government from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, to launch a regional union.

Before the summit, President Nicolas Sarkozy said the role of Europe and France was to help achieve peace through economic development, political initiatives and providing guarantees for all stakeholders. He said the main problem was one of confidence.

Mr Olmert said they had never been so close to an agreement with the Palestinians as they were today, but gave no further details.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said both were serious and wanted peace.