Abbas not ready to return to table with Israel, Palestinian official says (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF 06/10/12)
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Meeting new demands by Palestinian president won’t mean restarting
negotiations, PLO officer clarifies
Recent comments by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that
he would set new conditions for talks with Israel do not mean he is
ready for peace talks, a Palestinian official said Saturday, German
news agency DPA reported.
Abbas on Friday told French President Francois Hollande that he would
seek an Israeli promise to release Palestinian prisoners and free up
guns for security forces as preconditions for talks.
Abbas had previously demanded a freeze in settlement building and
Israeli acceptance of the 1967 borders as a starting point before
coming to the negotiating table.
Abbas’ comments Friday were not meant to construe willingness to
begin negotiations with Israel, though, said Wasel Abu Yousef, a
member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation
“What President Abbas had meant by this was not return to
negotiations,” he said, according to DPA . ”It will be only dialogue
to urge Netanyahu to stop settlements, and not negotiations.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would only
return to talks without any preconditions. Israel implemented a 10-
month settlement freeze in 2010, though negotiations with the
Palestinians only got underway in the last month of the construction
moratorium. Those talks were quickly cut off when construction began
contacts between the sides have remained fairly low-level since
several months ago, when Abbas and Netanyahu exchanged letters on
conditions for resuming talks.
Speaking in Turkey last week, Abbas said he would only resume talks
if Netanyahu answered “two simple questions,” though he would not
elaborate on what those were.
Abbas later told the Times of Israel that he was ready for peace
talks. (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 06/10/12)
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