Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More Good news from the Middle East

It just keeps getting better: Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas will meet in Egypt next Tuesday, in response to an invitation by Hosni Mubarak. King Abdullah of Jordan will also attend the meeting, which will be the highest-level summit between Israeli and Palestinian officials in 4 years. Apparently Condoleezza Rice may also attend; she was scheduled to reach Israel on Sunday and leave for Europe on Monday, but is likely to change her plans.

Up for discussion, besides the usual Palestinian request for release of prisoners and Israeli demand for a crackdown on militants, are plans for Israel to turn over security in several West Bank towns to Palestinian forces, and a phased withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

Unusually for me, I've been optimistic about the peace process for the last month or so; I wonder if I'm coming down with something. In other news, the State of the Union Address will be delivered tonight, and the twin foci will be Social Security and global democracy, with mention of Ukraine, Palestine, Afghanistan and, of course, Iraq. I'm looking forward to it.

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