Report: Arab League to give US 1 month to save peace talks

Diplomats at Arab League meeting in Libya say some countries suggesting return to indirect talks to avoid total breakdown of negotiations; Moussa blames Israeli negativity for impasse in peace process.

By
October 8, 2010 21:03
2 minute read.
Amr Moussa and Mahmoud Abbas

311_Amr moussa and abbas. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Arab countries will give the US one month to find a compromise which can save peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians after negotiations stalled over the issue of Israeli building in West Bank settlements, AFP reported a diplomat at the Arab League meeting in Libya as saying on Friday.

The unnamed diplomat said that a resolution to be approved later Friday by the Arab League Follow-up Committee on the peace process calls for the US administration to be given "a one month chance to seek the resumption of negotiations, including a halt to settlement [building]."

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Under the resolution, the Arab foreign ministers would reconvene in one month's time "to examine the policy alternatives if the diplomatic efforts fail."

Prior to the meeting on Friday, Arab League head Amr Moussa said the leaders  will attempt to find alternatives to the currently stalled peace process.

Moussa stated that Israel's "very, very negative" stance toward the talks is responsible for the current impasse. He added that the the Arab League does not plan to tell Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas what steps to take going forward.

Some Arab countries are proposing that Abbas return to indirect negotiations to avoid a total breakdown of Mideast peace talks, diplomats said Friday.

Abbas arrived in Libya on Thursday to seek Arab League backing for his decision to quit direct talks with Israel until the settlement construction moratorium is renewed, amid no signs that the US and Israel have a formula in hand to break the impasse.

Although Ambassador to the US Michael Oren on Thursday was the first Israeli or American official to acknowledge that Washington had offered Jerusalem inducements to extend the freeze, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – in public statements he made later in the day – sounded more like someone trying to shift the blame for failure onto the other side, rather than someone on the verge of announcing a breakthrough.

“We honored the government decision and took upon ourselves a commitment to the international community and the US to start the peace talks,” Netanyahu said of the 10- month moratorium that ended nearly two weeks ago.

“The Palestinians waited over nine months and, immediately at the onset of the talks, set a precondition even though they had promised that there would be no preconditions.”

The prime minister said that just as his government honored its commitment regarding the settlement moratorium, “we very much hope that the Palestinians will stay in the peace talks.”

Meanwhile,  Abbas has returned to his old habit of threatening to resign if Israel does not comply with his demands, making his latest threat during a meeting in Jordan on Wednesday night with members of the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s parliament- in-exile.

Khaled Musmar, a PLO official, said that Abbas hinted during the meeting that he would resign from his post if the peace talks with Israel failed.

Jpost.com staff and Associated Press contributed to this report.


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