'Mitchell proposed new peace process offers to Abbas'

US envoy to Mideast discussed "unofficial" ideas but made no US guarantees in meeting with PA president, 'al-Hayat' says.

December 15, 2010 10:07
1 minute read.
Mitchell and Erekat in Ramallah, Tuesday

Mitchell Erekat 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell on Tuesday proposed a set of "unofficial" ideas to the Palestinians in efforts to move the peace process forward according to Nabil Abu Rudaina, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, reported Army Radio.

A report in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper Wednesday morning said that Mitchell made no US guarantees during his meeting Tuesday night in Ramallah with Abbas.

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According to al-Hayat, Palestinian officials said Mitchell suggested that Egypt and Jordan be included in the discussion on borders, and that a "just" solution would be sought for refugees, water distribution and claims on Jerusalem.

The report noted however that Mitchell's offers did not cover an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders or from east Jerusalem.

Later Wednesday a Palestinian delegation was expected to meet with an Egyptian delegation in Cairo, ahead of talks on the peace process scheduled to be held by the Arab League.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the two delegations would request that the US present details of its vision for an Israeli-Palestinian solution.

After Mitchell's meeting with Abbas on Tuesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinian side had presented Mitchell with its view, specifically, that peace talks rely on international decisions ordering a Palestinian state be established with 1967 borders.

Mitchell arrived back in the region on Monday to discuss the core issues separately with each side in the hope that gaps could be narrowed and direct negotiations restarted.

The question of which issue to tackle first has long been a major point of dispute between the sides, with the Palestinians wanting to focus first on borders and Jerusalem, and Israel on refugees, recognition and security.

The sequence is significant, because Israel is concerned that if the Palestinians get what they want on the border issue, they will not be forthcoming on any of the issues that come later, such as refugees.

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