'US pressuring PA into direct talks'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 31, 2010 19:55

Ashrawi tells Arabic newspaper of Washington's threats to cut ties.

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'US pressuring PA into direct talks'

hanan ashrawi 224.88. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, reiterated previous statements by Palestinian officials that the US would cease supporting the Palestinian Authority if it refused to enter into direct negotiations with Israel in an interview with London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi published on Saturday.

"They even threatened to isolate the Palestinians and cut off relations," Ashrawi was quoted as saying.

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Ashrawi tells Arabic newspaper of Washington's threats to cut ties.

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Arab League foreign ministers on Thursday authorized the Palestinian Authority to enter into direct negotiations with Israel, but left it up to PA President Mahmoud Abbas to decide on the timing.

Abbas told the Arab foreign ministers at the League meeting that Obama had been exerting heavy pressure on him to enter direct negotiations, a PA official in Ramallah said. Abbas told the ministers he saw no reason why he should succumb to the American pressure in light of the fact that no progress has been achieved during the current US-brokered proximity talks.

The US pressure, according to Israeli officials, was leveled not only at the PA, but also at the Arab League to ensure that it not “handcuff” Abbas.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell had told Abbas that Washington might not be able to help the Palestinians attain their goals if they did not move to direct talks soon.

Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.

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