Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to hold talks (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/03/12)
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Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are to hold renewed talks, in
what would be their first public meeting in more than two months, a
senior official said on Tuesday.
"There are preparations with the Israeli side to have a meeting
between Saeb Erakat and Yitzhak Molcho in the next few hours or
days," the senior Palestinian official told AFP on condition of
On Monday, speaking in Cairo, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said
Erakat would meet on Tuesday with a senior aide to Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though he gave no additional details.
The last time the two negotiators met publicly was on January 25 in
Amman in what was the last of a series of five exploratory meetings
aimed at finding a way back to direct negotiations, which ultimately
ended without any progress.
An Israeli newspaper also reported that the two sides were planning
to meet to discuss a letter that Abbas is preparing to hand to
Israeli officials have refused to comment on reports of an imminent
"Behind the scenes over the last two weeks, there have been contacts
between Ramallah and Jerusalem over a letter which Abu Mazen (Abbas)
is planning to send to Netanyahu in the coming days," wrote Haaretz
on its website.
"Last week, a secret meeting took place in Jerusalem between Saeb
Erakat and Yitzhak Molho. The two are in phone contact from time-to-
time, but the meeting was the first in two-and-a-half months."
During that meeting, Erakat "relayed the content of the letter...
which at first included ultimatums as well as threats to dismantle
the Palestinian Authority," he wrote, indicating that since then, the
wording had been "diluted down and modified, partly due to strong US
But on Monday, Abbas appeared to make reference to the threat, saying
it had been mentioned in a message conveyed to Netanyahu.
"We told him in this message: You have made the Palestinian Authority
a non-Authority. You have taken from it all its specialisations and
commitments," he said.
"This is what will be said to him next week, and tomorrow there will
be a meeting with one of his aides and Saeb Erakat," Abbas said
But Netanyahu on Monday insisted Israel was still very much
interested in finding a way to resolve the conflict.
"I want to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians because I don´t
want a bi-national state," he told reporters in Jerusalem.
"Until this moment, the Palestinians, and not us, have chosen not to
engage in negotiations for the last three years. I hope they will
decide to change their minds in the coming months. We are willing and
The Palestinians have accused Israel of failing to present proposals
on borders and security called for by the Quartet, which groups the
United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.
Israel says it wants talks without preconditions, but the
Palestinians have sought an Israeli settlement freeze and clear
parameters for discussions before resuming direct negotiations.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen
since September 2010 due to the thorny dispute over Jewish settlement
building. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 04/03/12)
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