Erekat: Quartet has failed the peace process

Quartet was unable to create right atmosphere for resumption of peace talks with Israel, Palestinian negotiator tells AFP.

November 15, 2011 19:36
2 minute read.

PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators has failed to create the proper setting for renewed peace talks with Israel, AFP reported Tuesday.

Erekat told AFP that the Quartet was unsuccessful in creating "an atmosphere suitable to relaunch negotiations" especially in light of Israel's announcement to build 800 new homes in east Jerusalem.

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The Quartet is made of of representatives from the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

The Palestinian Authority has said that it would only return to peace talks with Israel should Jerusalem halt settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem.

Government officials said despite the disappointing results of the second round of separate Quartet talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials earlier this week, Israel would support "all steps designed to bring about the expeditious beginning of direct talks."

One official said Israel hoped the international community would step up and place pressure on the Palestinian Authority to re-start the negotiations without preconditions. The Palestinians are saying they will only resume talks if Israel both freezes all settlement construction beyond the Green Line, and agrees that the creation of a Palestinian state within the contours of the 1967 lines serve as the basis for the talks.

The official said he could not imagine Israel turning down an invitation to another round of Quartet-mediated talks, but stressed that Israel did not see those discussions as a substitute for direct talks between the parties themselves on the core issues of security, borders, Jerusalem and refugees.

Erekat on Monday said following Quartet talks that were held to try and break the frozen peace process that the Palestinians were ready to head to negotiations only if Israel stopped building settlement homes.

“We are ready to discuss all final status issues once Israel proves its seriousness and commitment by freezing all its illegal settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in occupied east Jerusalem," Erekat said.

Israel, Erekat said, must also accept “clear terms of reference, specifically the 1967 border."

“We cannot understate the importance of this issue,” he said.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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