PA officials: Abbas keeping us in the dark

PA president fails to update PA officials on meetings with Kerry; is under pressure to start talks without preconditions.

May 26, 2013 01:53
1 minute read.
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, May 23, 2013.

Abbas and Kerry meet in Ramallah 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Palestinian Authority officials said over the weekend that President Mahmoud Abbas was keeping them in the dark about US efforts to revive peace talks with Israel.

Abbas is personally in charge of the talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian sources told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

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Palestinian officials who attended last Thursday’s meeting between Kerry and Abbas in Ramallah were only permitted to present the PLO leadership’s position and demands regarding the resumption of peace talks with Israel, the sources said.

Kerry met with Abbas and four Palestinian officials before holding a closed one-hour meeting with the PA president.

The four Palestinian officials who attended the first meeting were Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Nabil Abu Rudaineh and Mohamed Mustafa.

The sources said that Abbas failed to brief the four officials on the outcome of his closed meeting with Kerry.

“Even chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat does not know the details of the discussions between Abbas and Kerry,” the sources said. “Abbas has decided to keep everyone in the dark.”

The sources said that Abbas had also failed to brief Palestinian officials on the results of his meeting with Kerry in Ankara several weeks ago.

Abbas was “optimistic” about the possibility that the US would present an initiative for reviving the peace process that would win the approval of the Palestinian leadership, the sources said.

In a related development, a top PA official claimed that Abbas was facing huge pressure to return to the negotiating table with Israel unconditionally.

The unnamed official told an Italian news agency that most Western foreign ministers who visited Ramallah recently had asked Abbas to comply with US efforts to revive the peace process even if the Americans do not get an Israeli commitment to stop settlement construction and accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

The official said that while there was international understanding for the Palestinian position, there was also fear that Kerry’s current mission would be the last chance for achieving a settlement.

“The situation is very difficult,” the official said. “In the end, President Abbas will bring whatever Kerry offers to the approval of the Palestinian leadership and the Arab League.”

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