Abbas: We could take 'difficult' steps if talks fail

The first direct meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in over a year gets underway in Amman.

January 3, 2012 17:58
1 minute read.
PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu

PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R). (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

Hours before the first direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority began in Jordan Tuesday evening, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians could take unilateral steps if Israel does not agree to halt settlement building and recognize the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Speaking ahead the talks in the Jordanian capital, Abbas said Palestinians were ready to take "difficult" measures, but did not specify what they were.

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Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to meet in Amman
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Abbas said that if Israel agreed to halt settlement building and recognize "the vision and borders of the two-state solution," Palestinians would agree immediately to negotiations.

"If they don't ... there are measures that we could take. But we will not declare them now because they have not been finalized. But we will take measures that could be difficult," Abbas told a group of judges in Ramallah.

In Amman Tuesday evening, the first meeting in over a year between Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators got under way. The first stage of the meeting will involve Quartet representatives, a Jordanian representative and the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

Later Tuesday evening, Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and PA negotiator Saeb Erekat were to hold another meeting with only the Jordanian representative present.

While the Jordanian initiative was praised for bringing the two sides together for the first time in over a year, both Israelis and Palestinians played down expectations for the talks.

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