• The Associated Press


Bad timing will prevent Israeli and Palestinian leaders from meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for a three-way summit next month, but such a gathering may be possible in the future, Israel’s vice premier said Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have both accepted invitations to visit Japan. It was earlier reported that the leaders might hold a trilateral summit with Koizumi if their trips coincided.

But Israeli Vice Premier Ehud Olmert told reporters after meeting Koizumi on Tuesday that Sharon would be in Israel to observe his nation’s independence day during Abbas’ mid-May visit to Japan, so the leaders would have to meet Koizumi separately.

“If these two meetings will be successful, the rest will follow suit and there will also be a trilateral meeting,” Olmert said. “But at this point, I think within the near future, just because of time constraints, it will be very difficult.”

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