14 Jul 2008

Palestinian deal 'never so close as now', says Israel

5:21 pm on 14 July 2008

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

He was speaking on Sunday after talks in Paris with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The pair 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, French 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 parties. He said the main problem was one of confidence.

Mr Olmert said the two sides had never been so close to an agreement, but gave no details.

Mr Abbas said both sides were serious and wanted peace.