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Olmert, Abbas to Meet in West Bank Monday

A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet Monday in the West Bank town of Jericho.

The announcement comes less than a week after U.S. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice met separately with each leader and called for a deeper dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert have held periodic meetings in recent months. Abbas aide Nabil Amr says this week's meeting is an opportunity for both sides to make progress on key areas ahead of an international peace conference proposed for later this year in the United States.

Rice said during her trip to the region last week the international conference could "advance Palestinian statehood."

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