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Olmert, Abbas urged to meet

Story Highlights

• The Middle East Quartet invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to meet in Cairo
• A meeting scheduled for last week between Olmert and Abbas was canceled
• Israeli-Palestinian relations have been plagued by violence in recent weeks
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Middle East Quartet has invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to a June 25 meeting in Cairo, according to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amir.

Israeli officials, who said they had not yet received the invitation, would not confirm whether Olmert and Abbas would attend that gathering, hosted by Quartet members the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia.

Olmert and Abbas were to have met Thursday in Jericho in an effort to defuse the latest tensions, but the session was delayed, representatives for both leaders said Wednesday.

No new meeting date has been set.

Olmert's office said the meeting "had been postponed at the request of the Palestinians," and Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti confirmed the session had been canceled.

Relations have been especially rocky between Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories in recent weeks, with hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, and retaliatory strikes launched by the Israeli army.

Israeli forces have arrested dozens of Palestinians -- including some lawmakers -- and engaged Palestinian gunmen.

Meanwhile, Olmert's media adviser issued a statement saying the Security Council met Wednesday morning to discuss the situation on the northern border. Most of the meeting was devoted to security and diplomatic briefings on developments in both Syria and Lebanon, the adviser said.

According to the statement, Olmert said Israel was interested in peace with Syria: "Israel does not want war with Syria. We must avoid miscalculations that are liable to lead to a security deterioration."

Olmert added that Israel is using various diplomatic channels to deliver this message to Syria. The prime minister imposed a blackout on any further details on the meeting.

CNN's Shira Medding and Nidal Rafa contributed to this report.


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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meet in Jerusalem, April 15, 2007.

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