Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat will travel to Washington for
a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week, in an effort to
revive the peace process, the State Department said on Friday.
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.
and May, PA President 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.
continues to demand a freeze on settlement activity before resuming
“We’re trying to improve the atmosphere so that we can make
progress and get them back to the table,” Nuland added, according to
An Israeli government official said Israel was happy to meet with
the Palestinians at any level without conditions.
The official also said
that Kadima head Shaul Mofaz has been fully briefed by both Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and his envoy to the Palestinians Yitzhak Molcho on the
While Palestinian sources were quoted last week as
saying a meeting between Mofaz and Abbas was in the works, the official said he
did not know if such a meeting was indeed in the immediate offing.
Thursday, Erekat called on the Mideast Quartet to take a more active role with
concrete steps, speaking ahead of a Quartet meeting on Friday.
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
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 be counterproductive and only lead to a meaningless
process that is incapable of bringing about peace,” Ma’an reported.
on Thursday, PLO Secretary- General Yasser Abed Rabbo said efforts were under
way to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu.
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
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 it has “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.
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
Last week, Clinton phoned Abbas and discussed with him ways
of resuming the peace talks with Israel, the official pointed out.
Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
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