PA in dispute over who should lead negotiating team

Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath are said to be jockeying for head position; Erekat claims he has already received Abbas appointment.

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September 12, 2010 17:01
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas what 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

On the eve of the resumption of the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a row has erupted in the Palestinian Authority over who should head the negotiating team.

Sources in Ramallah said that the dispute erupted between Saeb Erekat, the head of the PLO's Negotiations Department, and Nabil Shaath, a former PA foreign minister who is in charge of the "Foreign Affairs Portfolio" in Fatah.

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Erekat called on the Palestinians to avoid preoccupying themselves with "marginal" issues such as who would head the delegation to the direct talks. "We must focus on the core issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlers and the release of all the Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails," he stressed.

Erekat added that the talks would not make any progress if Israel decided to end the moratorium on settlement construction later this month.

Shaath also denied that he and Erekat were involved in a power struggle, adding that Abbas was the one who would lead the negotiations in general.

"This is all nonsense," Shaath said. "There is no power struggle whatsoever. We are all united in our position."


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