Backed by Egypt and Jordan, Palestinian president 'ready' to negotiate with Israel

Bolstered by support from Jordan and Egypt, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he is "ready" to negotiate with Israel and vowed to "prod" the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers to resume talks. "We are ready to negotiate with the Israeli government on the basis of the road map," Abbas said after a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II at a hilltop palace in Amman. Abbas said he hoped a May 9 meeting in New York between the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations would provide an impetus to revive the road map, which calls for an end to violence and creation of a Palestinian state. "When they (Israel) show that they are ready, we will immediately start (negotiations)," he said in a statement released by Jordan's Royal Palace. Despite his government now being ruled by Hamas, Abbas said he had not received any "fully negative signals" from Israel that it does not want to negotiate. "On the contrary, there are some positive signs which we want to build on," Abbas said. He said he hoped Palestinian factions, including Hamas, would meet soon for a national dialogue, warning that they "face dangerous challenges and maybe catastrophes" otherwise. Jordan and Egypt launched a joint effort Saturday to get Israel to return to the negotiating table across from the Palestinian president, not his Hamas-led government. "Jordan, in coordination with Egypt, will undertake efforts internationally to assist in the resumption of the peace process," King Abdullah II said, calling the upcoming Quartet meeting a "significant step" toward that goal. Abbas arrived in Jordan late Saturday on a tour that has taken him to Turkey, Norway, Morocco and France.