Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians were ready to restart peace negotiations if based around the principles US President Barack Obama laid out in his State Department dress on the Middle East, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Erekat, who met Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior White House officials, said that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted Obama's platform of a return to pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, then he would have a partner for negotiations.

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He also said that according to what the prime minister said at the US Congress during his Washington visit, "he's not a partner for peace."

Netanyahu had rejected Obama's 1967-lines formulation, saying that any borders based on the pre-Six Day War lines would be "indefensible."

Speaking from a luncheon meeting with Middle East experts sponsored by the Saban Center of the Brookings Institution, the Palestinian negotiator said that "[If Netanyahu] wants to be a partner, he has to say it: Two states on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps,"

He added that without such a declaration, talks would not move forward, the Washington Post said.

Erekat was in Washington to consult with the acting US Middle East envoy David Hale, who he met with on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dropped by the Hale- Erekat meeting in an unscheduled visit that has been seen by some as a means of gauging whether the Palestinian and Israeli positions allow any possibility for restarting negotiations.

“The point of the meeting was to work on getting both sides back to the table,” one State Department official said.



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