Fatah rebuffs Mitchell
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Palestinian party rejects offer for US-brokered direct talks.
Fatah spokesperson Muhammad Dahlan announced that Fatah had rejected the US's offer Saturday to broker direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The offer was advanced by US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell in a meeting earlier Saturday with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
urges Abbas to avoid direct talks
Start direct talks
Mitchell had said earlier that he was "heartened" by the talks he held with Abbas Saturday.
The position of Fatah is not necessarily the official position of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas said earlier that he will resume direct peace talks if
Israel accepts its 1967 frontier as a baseline for the borders of a
Palestinian state and agrees to the deployment of an international force
Abbas is under growing pressure from the United States to
resume negotiations, and met in Ramallah with President Barack Obama's
Mideast envoy, George Mitchell.
Abbas' latest comments, published Saturday
in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad, hinted at some flexibility.
Palestinian leader did not mention a comprehensive Israeli settlement
freeze as a condition for negotiations — something he has underlined as
crucial in the past.
However, it seemed unlikely Prime Minister
Netanyahu would meet Abbas' demands.
refused to be pinned down on a framework for negotiations, insisting on
talks without conditions.
Negotiations between Abbas and
Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud
Olmert, broke off in December 2008, on the
eve of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
put forward to the Israelis our position on different final status
issues, and especially on borders and security," Abbas told the
Jordanian newspaper. "We have said that the borders need to be on a 1967
basis, with agreement on land swaps equal in value and size, and we
gave our vision regarding security, which was agreed on previously, in
He said that Israel needs to recognize these
propositions as acceptable, in principle.
"If they agree, we will
consider that progress ... and this would prompt us to go to direct
negotiations," he said.
It was not clear whether Mitchell made
any headway in his meeting with Abbas on Saturday.
he was "heartened" by the talks he has held in the region in recent days
and that he would return soon. On Friday, he met with Netanyahu.
US envoy has been shuttling between Abbas and Netanyahu in recent weeks
to try to close some of the gaps between the sides.
Yasser Abed Rabbo said a decision on direct talks is not expected before
early next month.
He said the Palestine Liberation
Organization's top decision-making body and Arab foreign ministers would
have to weigh in on the issue, and that Abbas is also waiting for
clarifications from the US.