Merkel urges Abbas to accept Quartet peace initiative

German chancellor telephones PA president, "insisting on opening negotiations" based on plan with December 2012 deadline.

September 27, 2011 02:25
1 minute read.
Angela Merkel

Merkel reuters 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to the Quartet of Middle East mediators' proposal to renew peace talks with Israel, AFP reported on Monday.

A spokesman for the German leader said that she "spoke by telephone with Abbas, insisting on opening negotiations with Israel on the basis of the Quartet's proposal," according to the report.

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Abbas said on Sunday that he would not give his opinion on the Quartet's proposal until he disusses the initiative with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

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He reiterated that Israel must accept the pre-1967 lines as a basis for negotiations and completely halt construction in settlements before he would agree to resume talks.

The Middle East Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – has been trying for months to come up with a formula that would enable direct talks. Its formula was released on Friday afternoon, after Abbas formally submitted a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seeking full UN membership.

The Quartet statement urged the parties “to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions.”

Acknowledging that talks by themselves will not reestablish trust, the Quartet proposed the following: a “preparatory meeting” between the parties within a month to agree to an agenda and a “method of proceeding in the negotiation.” The two sides will commit that the objective is to “reach an agreement within a time frame agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that Israel would not declare a new settlement freeze to get the Palestinians to agree to the Quartet’s formula for a renewal of talks.

Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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