Olmert, Abbas Meet, Agree to Hold Summit

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, center, and Jordan's King Abdullah after a breakfast for Nobel laureates in Petra, Jordan, where Olmert and Abbas met informally.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, center, and Jordan's King Abdullah after a breakfast for Nobel laureates in Petra, Jordan, where Olmert and Abbas met informally. (By Yousef Allan -- Jordanian Royal Palace Via Associated Press)
Friday, June 23, 2006

Olmert, Abbas Meet, Agree to Hold Summit

PETRA, Jordan -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed at an informal meeting in Jordan on Thursday to hold a summit in the next few weeks sought by Middle East peace brokers. Olmert also apologized for Palestinian civilian deaths in recent Israeli airstrikes.

Embracing at a breakfast hosted by King Abdullah of Jordan for Nobel laureates in the ancient town of Petra, Olmert and Abbas met for the first time since the Israeli leader took office in January.

They smiled for the cameras, signaling that chances for dialogue were alive despite a surge in violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

The prime minister, however, said peace talks were unlikely unless the Palestinian government -- led by Hamas, the rival of Abbas's Fatah party -- changed its positions, and he pledged to keep up attacks against militants.

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EUROPE

? VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI made a long-awaited reshuffle of the Roman Curia, ending the tenures of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's No. 2 official, and Cardinal Edmund Szoka, an American in charge of Vatican City.

Benedict replaced Sodano as secretary of state with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 71 the archbishop of Genoa, Italy. He replaced Szoka, the former archbishop of Detroit, with Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, 71, the Vatican's foreign minister.

Bertone, a close adviser to the pope, served directly under him when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Known for his vigorous defense of Vatican moral teachings, Bertone was among the first church officials to attack Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code."

? VIENNA -- Iran could stop enriching uranium "in the best case" only as a result of negotiations with major world powers, but not as a precondition for such talks, Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator said in a speech.

ASIA


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