(photo credit: AP [file])
National Security Adviser Uzi Arad on Monday turned down a request by top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat for a meeting due to recent talks the latter held with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, the Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday.
Erekat had asked for the meeting over a Palestinian request for Israel to allow Gazans to travel to the West Bank in order to participate in August's Fatah General Convention, a gathering that has not been held in 20 years.
The Prime Minister's Office stressed that the requested meeting was not for the purpose of political discussions, adding that Arad's snub of Erekat did not necessarily mean that the two would not meet on the Fatah conference issue sometime in the future.
Radio Kol Chai had quoted Erekat earlier Wednesday as saying that the Prime Minister's Office had recently turned down several requests for meetings.
"The Israeli prime minister doesn't want to meet us," he was quoted as saying. "Over the last few days, they have said that we would meet, but have then canceled."
Erekat on Sunday played down last week's meeting with Mottaki in Sharm e-Sheikh, wondering what all the fuss was about, and laughing off a suggestion that there was "normalization between Fatah and Iran."