The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Sunday described the overnight meeting between PNA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon as constructive.
It has been the first high-level meeting between the conflicting parties for about three years since the outbreak of violence in September 2000.
Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen, was accompanied by Minister of State for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan and Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Speaker Ahmed Qurei, to partake in the negotiations in Sharon's office in Jerusalem.
Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr said in a statement released on Sunday that Abbas conveyed to Sharon the PNA's support to the internationally-backed roadmap, while asking Sharon to give his formal response to concerning the peace blueprint.
Abbas also stressed the importance of lifting the siege imposed on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who has been confined at his Ramallah headquarters for more than a year, the statement said.
The newly-sworn in Palestinian premier also asked for lifting the closures imposed on the Palestinian territories, the Israeli troops pullout, and a halt to all kinds of settlement activities, it said.
The statement reiterated the PNA's full commitment and willingness to fulfill its obligations and commitments as agreed upon in the roadmap, calling on Israel to act correspondingly.
Amr said Abbas asserted to Sharon that the roadmap should be practiced by both sides in parallel.
Informed Israeli sources, on the other side, said Sharon suggested that he would give Abbas full control of the northern Gaza Strip in exchange for a Palestinian green light to dismantle radical Palestinian militants.
The sources said Sharon would put one of the West Bank areas under the PNA control, to test its capability to rein in terror attacks against Israeli targets.
Sharon's office released a statement overnight saying "the two parties were agreed that an end to terrorism is a vital step for making progress and the Palestinians have promised to make a real and sincere effort to bring this about."
Sharon and Abbas "agree to pursue their talks in the near futurefollowing Sharon's return from the United States," the statement concluded, although the trip has been delayed by a twin suicide attacks in Jerusalem.
The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth said the Palestinian delegation headed by Abbas has asked Sharon to give Dahlan, the minister in charge of security, a three-month ultimatum to re-establish competent security services.
It said Abbas said he has to achieve some accomplishments regarding the Palestinians, such as alleviating their living conditions, while Sharon said he would wait for another month to consider signing a ceasefire treaty.