Erekat: Abbas, Mofaz to meet next week for talks

Meeting would mark highest-level talks since negotiations broke down in 2010; PLO negotiator says meeting requested by Mofaz.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz on Sunday, a Palestinian official said on Thursday, in the highest-level meeting between the sides since peace talks broke down in 2010.
"There will be a meeting on Sunday between President Abbas and Mr. Mofaz. This comes after a request for a meeting from Mofaz," Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine Radio.
A spokesman for Mofaz would not confirm or deny that a meeting had been arranged, but he did say there was ongoing contact with Abbas' office toward setting up such an event.
Earlier in the month, a Palestinian official was quoted as saying Mofaz had been asking for a meeting with with Abbas, and remarked that such a meeting would likely take place in Amman, Jordan.
Renewed interest in Israel-PA negotiations from the Kadima head came amid statements of pessimism from Palestinian Authority leadership. Last week, Abbas declared the peace process "clinically dead," blaming the state of affairs squarely on Israel. “The ball is in the Israeli court,” Abbas said in a speech at a conference on Jerusalem that was held in Ramallah.
Mofaz recently returned from a diplomatic visit in Washington, where he held high-level meetings with US officials on the state of Israel-PA relations. Simultaneously, the PLO's Erekat also visited the US for talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on ways of reviving the stalled peace talks with Israel.
Speaking to Israel Radio from DC last week, Mofaz said that Palestinians preconditions have become an obstacle, and that the upcoming negotiations must and will be restarted "without any preconditions." "Over the past three years the Palestinians have been placing preconditions on restarting the negotiations, and Israel and the US were mistaken in allowing them to do so," Mofaz said.
One of the main preconditions of the Kadima party joining the governing coalition was the advancement of the peace process in a responsible manner.