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Israel Promises Abbas to Work for Improvement of Palestinian Lives

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel has promised quick solutions for many of the day-to-day concerns of Palestinians in the occupied areas.

Mr. Abbas made the remark on the Voice of Palestine radio after Monday's talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the West Bank town of Jericho.

He said he believed the Israeli leader is "serious" about making progress in efforts to revitalize the peace process.

Earlier, Mr. Olmert said he discussed "fundamental issues" that - in the Israeli leader's words - will soon lead into negotiations about the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israeli officials say the Jericho meeting did not deal with so-called final-status issues, such as setting a border, dismantling Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the future of Jerusalem.

The meeting -- the first time an Israeli leader visited a Palestinian town in nearly seven years -- was part of preparations for a U.S. sponsored Middle East peace conference expected in November.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said more meetings will be needed to prepare for the peace conference.

Israel captured the West Bank during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The territory is now a patchwork of Israeli settlements, areas under Israeli military occupation, and areas under the Palestinian Authority.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.