Abbas meets with US envoy Indyk to discuss peace talks progress

Abed Rabbo says Israel demanded to retain control over the border with Jordan, warns such demands will cause "endless wars."

September 17, 2013 22:38
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, July 28, 2013.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.. (photo credit: REUTERS/ISSAM RIMAWI/POOL)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah Tuesday with US envoy Martin Indyk and discussed with him the latest developments surrounding the peace talks with Israel.

A PA official said that the two sides “assessed” the outcome of the previous rounds of talks between the Palestinians and Israel, of which the two sides have held eight meetings.

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Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and US Consul-General in Jerusalem Michael Ratney were also present, the official said.

The meeting came as Palestinian officials continue to talk about the lack of progress in the peace talks.

PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the “indicators” of the talks thus far have been negative.

Abed Rabbo claimed that Israel was seeking to “draw borders in accordance with its security interests.” He warned that if this happens, “We will witness endless wars.”

Abed Rabbo said that during the talks, Israel demanded to retain control over the border with Jordan, something the Palestinians have rejected.

In New York on Tuesday, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry lauded both Israeli and Palestinian leaders for their “bold decisions” to meet and “pursue their diplomatic engagement.”

“We encourage all sides to accelerate and intensify their discussions,” Serry said. “It is perhaps understandable that skeptics continue to question the substance of these talks. However at this stage, public comments would be counterproductive.”

Serry also urged both parties to remain focused and “not neglect the prospect for peace, even against the background of turmoil elsewhere in the neighborhood.”

Serry repeatedly urged restraint by both parties and pointed to the 282 IDF operations carried out in the West Bank – in which five Palestinians died in Jenin and Kalandiya – as destabilizing factors in the peace process. He also called the continued settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “counterproductive and against international law.”

He also noted the September 1 arrests of two Palestinian men in east Jerusalem whose plans for a terrorist attack were at an “advanced stage,” and the attempted launching of nine rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, two of which exploded at their launch sites and the other seven of which landed within Gaza.

Serry touched on the situation in Sinai and recognized “Egypt’s legitimate security concerns and the need to effectively counter illegal activities.”

He further condemned the car bombing in Tripoli, Lebanon that killed 45 people, and also pointed out cross-border gun fire that came from Syria into Lebanon, as well as four rockets that were fired from the Tyre area in Southern Lebanon into Israel, claimed by the terrorist group Abdallah Azzam Brigade.

Serry finished his talk by again turning to the peace process. “Twenty years of endless negotiations, prolonged occupation, terror and conflict have deeply affected perception and expectations within both Israeli and Palestinian societies and undermined the belief that peace is possible,” he said. “We do not underestimate the challenges ahead… it is for their leaders to act in the best interests of their people.”

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