Molcho meets Quartet team; PA accuses FM of incitement

Abbas spokesman accuses Israel of intransigence, Lieberman of wanting "to end the role of the Quartet in the region"; PMO says more meetings with the Quartet team will be scheduled.

Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, met with representatives of the Quartet on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office said.
Molcho and the representatives discussed ways to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, according to the Quartet's outline, spokesman Ofir Gendelman said. He added that the parties would schedule another meeting to continue the discussions.
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Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of inciting against PA President Mahmoud Abbas with the purpose of "completely destroying the peace process."
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Abbas, said that Lieberman's campaign against the PA president was also aimed at damaging efforts of the Quart members - the US, EU, UN and Russia - to restive the stalled peace negotiations between the two sides.
"Lieberman wants to end the role of the Quartet in the region," Abu Rudaineh charged. "The Quartet's efforts have been met with Israeli intransigence, including refusal to stop construction in the settlements and recognize the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations."
Abu Rudaineh called on Lieberman to look around and see the "Arab revolutions that have brought down presidents while hundreds of thousands of our people support our president and his policies."

Lieberman's campaign against Abbas, he added, is an "unacceptable and sick policy and it will only rally our people behind President Abbas."

Quartet officials flew into the region to hold separate meetings in Jerusalem with Israeli and Palestinian representatives in an effort to convince the latter to agree to a direct meeting.

The latest effort at restarting negotiations comes three days after the sides missed a deadline for the first direct meeting the Quartet called for in its framework for returning to talks, which it released at the UN on September 23. That framework calls for an agreement between the two sides by the end of 2012.

On the eve of the Quartet meetings, an Israeli government source said that Israel embraced the Quartet call “for a resumption of talks without preconditions, and hope that the Quartet officials will expedite that goal.”

Asked about various reports over the last few days that Netanyahu might be willing to curtail settlement construction to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, the official would say only that as the diplomatic process progresses, “Israel will be willing to show good faith.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report


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