Arab League postpones meeting with Abbas on talks

Spokesman says meeting delayed to give US chance to save talks. Saudi FM: "Consequences of failure too catastrophic to imagine."

Mahmoud Abbas 311 (photo credit: AP/Nasser Nasser)
Mahmoud Abbas 311
(photo credit: AP/Nasser Nasser)
The Arab League meeting with Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas to consult on the peace talks, originally scheduled to take place on Monday, was postponed until October 6 in order to give the United States another opportunity to save the peace talks, AFP reported Thursday.
Arab League spokesman Ahmed Eissa told the AFP that the meeting was postponed in order to "allow Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to attend the meeting, in light of the latest developments and efforts by the United States for peace talks," Eissa said.
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Another Arab diplomat, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, suggested the meeting was delayed because some ministers had asked for further discussions to forge a unified Arab position.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said in a statement Wednesday that "the moment of truth" had arrived for those seeking to resolve the conflict and that "the consequences of failure this time are too catastrophic to imagine."
He called on Israel to freeze its settlements, which he said, "aim to change facts on the ground and thus jeopardize the peace process and render the negotiations meaningless."
Talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been deadlocked over Israeli settlement construction. Earlier this week, Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on new housing construction in West Bank settlements. Abbas warned he would quit the U.S.-sponsored peace talks unless the moratorium is extended.
Abbas' final decision is expected Wednesday, when Arab League foreign ministers are to meet in Cairo. Underscoring the sense of urgency, Europe's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, rushed to the region for talks with Abbas and Netanyahu on Thursday and Friday.