´State Dept. says Clinton will meet Erekat in peace push´ (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 06/16/12)
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Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat will travel to
Washington for a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
next week in efforts to revive the peace process, the US State
Department said on Friday.
The meeting aims to encourage Israel and the Palestinians "to build
on the exchange of letters and continue to take the next step toward
the table," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said,
according to AFP.
In April and May, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu exchanged letters laying out positions
for resuming talks that have been stalled since late 2010 when an
Israeli settlement freeze expired. Abbas continues to demand a freeze
on settlement activity before resuming negotiations.
"We´re trying to improve the atmosphere so that we can make progress
and get them back to the table," she added, according to AFP.
On Thursday, Erekat called on the Mideast Quartet to take a more
active role with concrete steps, speaking ahead of a Quartet meeting
"The Quartet has not taken any concrete measure to stop this alarming
trend (of settlement activity), which the international community
unanimously agrees now seriously threatens the prospects of the two-
state solution," the Palestinian negotiator said, according to the
Bethlehem-based Ma´an news agency.
Calling for common terms of reference to be established, Erekat
continued, "Any Quartet calls for a resumption of negotiation in the
absence of such basic requirements will b counterproductive and only
lead to a meaningless process that is incapable of bringing about
peace," Ma´an reported.
Also Thursday, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said efforts
are under way to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.
“Contacts are continuing to ease tensions between the two sides and
prepare for the resumption of the peace process,” Abed Rabbo told the
PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.
Meanwhile, US Middle East envoy David Hale is expected to return to
the region in the coming days for talks aimed at reviving the peace
The US has told the Palestinian leadership that they have “new,
positive ideas” on how to revive the peace process, Ameen Makbul, a
Fatah official in the West Bank, said on Thursday.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper quoted a senior
Palestinian official as saying that renewed US efforts to revive the
peace talks are designed to stop the PA from pursuing its plan to
seek unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
The official said that fresh US ideas include more goodwill gestures
on the part of Israel, such as the release of Palestinian prisoners
and freezing settlement construction.
Earlier this week, Clinton phoned Abbas and discussed with him ways
of resuming the peace talks with Israel, the official pointed out.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 06/16/12)
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