Abbas arrives in Cairo to discuss US freeze proposal

PA President to meet with Egyptian President Mubarak; Chief PLO negotiator Erekat says Palestinians won’t accept any “partial” freeze of settlement construction.

November 20, 2010 20:56
2 minute read.
File photo

Abbas Mubarak. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo on Saturday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on the latest US efforts to resume peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

The Palestinians and the Egyptians said over the weekend that they still haven’t received the full details of a US proposal to provide Israel with a package of incentives in return for freezing settlement construction in the West Bank for an additional 90 days.

PA looks for its own incentive package for negotiations
PA surprised, disappointed at US 90-day freeze proposal

Abbas was quoted by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper as saying that there should be no linkage between freezing settlement construction and supplying Israel with weapons. He also complained that the US Administration still hasn’t come up with new ideas to revive the peace process.

The paper quoted a senior PA official as saying that US envoy David Hale, who met with Abbas in Ramallah last week, informed the Palestinian leadership that the US Administration and Israel have yet to agree on a formula for freezing settlement construction.

“We understand from Hale that all what has been published so far [about an agreement between Israel and the US] is nothing but Israeli leaks,” the official said. “President Abbas made it clear that the Palestinians can’t accept any agreement that excludes Jerusalem.”

On the eve of Abbas’s talks with Mubarak, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians won’t accept any “partial” freeze of settlement construction. Erekat said that the PA still hasn’t received any official word from the Americans about the latest US proposal for resuming the peace talks.

Erekat said that Abbas and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa agreed to convene the Arab League foreign ministers to discuss the future of the peace process once the Americans provide the Palestinians with details of the proposal.

Erekat added that the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table only when Israel halts settlement construction also in Jerusalem. He too rejected any attempt to create a link between settlement construction and the supply of US weapons to Israel.

“The settlements are a violation of the international law and those who violate the law should not be rewarded,” Erekat added. “We want a full and indefinite cessation of settlement construction. Settlement construction should be halted until the final-status talks on all core issues end.”

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