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Annan hails meeting between leaders of Israel, Palestine

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UNITED NATIONS, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the meeting to be held between top leaders of Israel and Palestine, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.

In a statement released by the spokesman, Annan said he welcomed the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and looks forward to evaluating the situation at the meeting of the Quartet in London later this week.

"As the announced date for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank, 15 August 2005, approaches, the Secretary- General has been following events concerning the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory carefully," the spokesman said.

Sharon met in Jerusalem on Tuesday with Abbas over a planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of northern West Bank. The Sharon-Abbas summit was the first since the two leaders declared in February a mutual cease-fire, which has been shaken by a spate of violence.