PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority reiterated Sunday its opposition to holding direct
peace talks with Israel and pointed out that the Quartet members – the US, EU,
UN and Russia – had called for separate negotiations between Israelis and
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The PA’s announcement came in response to remarks by US
State Department spokesman Mark Toner, who said last Friday that Israel and the
Palestinians must start direct talks before there can be any negotiation on
borders and security.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed surprise
at Washington’s call for direct talks.
He said that the Quartet called
last September for separate talks with the two parties, during which Israel and
the Palestinians would present their positions on security and
Erekat said that the Palestinians have since complied with the
Quartet’s demands and presented their positions on the two issues.
the spokesman of the US State Department is talking about face-to-face talks,
but this is contrary to what the Quartet had requested,” Erekat told the
The PLO official said that the
Palestinians would agree to face-to-face talks only when Israel halts all
settlement construction and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Erekat accused the
Israeli government of seeking to divert attention from its refusal to present
the Quartet with its stance on security and borders. “The Israeli government
prefers the formula of negotiating for the sake of negotiations,” he
PA officials in Ramallah accused the administration of President
Barack Obama of avoiding fulfilling its obligations under the terms of the
“The Americans are trying to put the blame on the Palestinians
for the continued stalemate in the peace process, ignoring the fact that the
Palestinian Authority has been cooperative with the Quartet’s efforts,” said one
official. “How can the Obama administration call for direct talks in
contradiction to the position of the Quartet?” Another PA official claimed that
the presidential elections in the US were a major factor in Obama’s decision to
refrain from exerting any pressure on the Israeli government.