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Olmert, Abbas Meet in Effort to Boost Peace Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Monday in an effort to accelerate peace talks stalled on the divisive issues of settlements and roadblocks in the West Bank.

The private talks followed a three-day visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during which she made direct remarks about the consequences of Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank.

Secretary Rice pressed Israeli leaders Sunday to dismantle West Bank security checkpoints that disrupt the life of Palestinians. She said Washington is interested not just in the quantity of roadblocks Israel removes, but also in the quality of Israeli steps to improve the everyday lives of Palestinians.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday that Israel may uproot some Jewish settlements in the West Bank as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Livni said that settlements are not an obstacle to peace because Israel has previously dismantled such communities when there was a need to do so.

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