Palestinian leader to send Israel PM letter on peace talks (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/08/12)
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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will send a letter to Israel´s
premier on the state of stalled peace talks on April 17, a
Palestinian official told AFP on Sunday.
The letter is expected to lay out Palestinian conditions for
returning to direct negotiations that have been on hold since late
The Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
the letter would be handed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu by a delegation of senior Palestinians.
"It was agreed that a Palestinian delegation, including Palestinian
prime minister Salam Fayyad, secretary-general of the Palestine
Liberation Organisation Yasser Abed Rabbo and Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erakat, will meet with Netanyahu on the 17th of this month," the
Israeli officials had no comment on the reported meeting date.
Abbas has said for several weeks he was in the process of penning a
letter to Netanyahu, which is expected to lay out Palestinian
conditions for resuming negotiations, including a halt to Israeli
settlement construction and clear parameters for discussions of
Abbas has indicated that he will accuse Netanyahu of rendering the
Palestinian Authority government "a non-authority", but is expected
to stop short of threatening to disband the PA as reports had earlier
suggested he would.
Netanyahu´s office has said that he will respond with his own letter
to Abbas, which is likely to call for a resumption of direct
negotiations without preconditions.
Last week, Erakat and Netanyahu´s envoy Yitzhak Molcho held talks
believed to have focused on the contents of Abbas´s letter.
They were the first publicly acknowledged discussions since five
rounds of so-called exploratory talks between envoys from both sides
were held earlier this year.
Those discussions, sponsored by the Middle East peacemaking Quartet
and held in Amman, ended in January without any agreement to continue
talking or to return to direct negotiations.
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 a thorny dispute over Jewish settlement
Abbas on Sunday held talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in
Ramallah, and repeated his insistence that negotiations could not
resume without a settlement freeze.
"We talked about a range of issues of common interest, the first of
which was the deadlock in the peace process caused by the Israeli
government´s continued settlement policy in the West Bank, including
Jerusalem," Abbas said.
Monti is holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on
Sunday on his first trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories
since taking office. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
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