Abbas: Ball in Israel's court to restart peace talks

PLO negotiator Erekat says negotiations cannot afford to fail as former PA prime minister praises Kerry's peace efforts.

June 4, 2013 17:41
2 minute read.
Abbas in rally for UN bid in Ramallah.

Abbas in rally for UN bid 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

The Palestinian position on resuming peace talks according to the 1967 lines was known to the US and Israel and “the ball is now in the Israeli court,” official Palestinian news agency WAFA cited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as saying on Tuesday, the day after the US secretary of state warned that time was running out to restart long-stalled talks.

"Israel has to accept [the Palestinian position] to re-launch negotiations so that we can go back to the negotiating table as soon as possible to reach a solution to all outstanding issues and achieve the two-state solution on the 1967 borders,” Abbas was quoted as saying at a press conference in Ramallah with Mohamed Waheed Hassan, President of the Maldives.

Abbas was also cited as praising the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry toward finding a solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, saying that Kerry "is serious and very much interested in reaching a solution.”

Meanwhile, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that the Palestinians are "exerting every possible effort for John Kerry's peace plan to succeed," Ma'an quoted him as saying.

The PLO official told reporters in the West Bank that "no one benefits more from the success of Kerry's peace efforts, and no one suffers more from the failure, than the Palestinians," Ma'an reported.

In his first address to an American Jewish audience as secretary of state on Monday, John Kerry made a passionate case for renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, calling on both sides to "summon the courage" to negotiate.

"We are running out of time," Kerry said. "We are running out of possibilities."

Kerry is expected to arrive for his fifth visit to the region "within days," Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Sunday. He is expected to visit Amman over efforts to restart the peace process.

Earlier on Monday, Kerry said he would decide at some point whether to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories to push for decisions by the two sides on reviving talks.

"I will make a judgment at some point whether I need to go and push a little bit, or help that process, and I am certainly willing to. I am open to that possibility but we are not raising any expectations about an American plan," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with the Polish foreign minister.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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