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)

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.

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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