Abbas: Indirect talks going nowhere

PA mulling asking Arab League to re-endorse ‘02 Arab Peace Initiative.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: AP)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas
(photo credit: AP)
On the eve of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, the Palestinian Authority on Monday announced that the “proximity talks” with Israel have failed to achieve anything.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in Jordan, told a group of Jordanian journalists that, contrary to reports in the media, no progress has been achieved during the indirect negotiations.
RELATED:Indirect talks will cover core issuesPerhaps step backward will move peace forwardAbbas confirmed that he had presented the US administration with ideas in writing about all the core issues.
Earlier this week, a London-based Arabic-language Saudi newspaper revealed that Abbas submitted written proposals to US envoy George Mitchell regarding the core issues, including the future borders of a Palestinian state and the status of Jerusalem.
According to the report, Abbas’s ideas did not rule out a land swap that would allow Israel to retain control over settlement blocs in the West Bank. The ideas also envision an Israeli withdrawal from east Jerusalem, including the Old City, with the exception of the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter, which would remain under Israeli control.
In his meeting with the Jordanian journalists in Amman, Abbas did not give any details about the written ideas he submitted to the Americans. However, he voiced pessimism regarding the prospects of a breakthrough in the proximity talks.
Abbas said that the Palestinians would wait only until September, when the proximity talks are due to end. If there is no progress, as is the case until now, the Palestinians would ask the Arab League countries to re-endorse and market the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as the only plan for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict, Abbas added.
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday asked the Arab League foreign ministers to hold a special meeting so that he could brief them on the outcome of the talks with Israel.
Erekat said that if no agreement is reached by September, the PA and the Arab League would turn to the UN Security Council and demand recognition of the June 4, 1967, lines as the borders of a Palestinian state.
Erekat, who made the request during a meeting in Cairo with Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa, also said that no progress has been made during the US-sponsored negotiations with Israel.
Erekat complained that the US administration has failed to provide the Palestinians with answers from the Israeli government about core issues such as borders and security.
The PA has stated that it won’t agree to move to direct negotiations with Israel unless progress is made on these two issues during the current talks.
PA officials said they were surprised over the past few days to hear statements coming out of Washington to the effect that the two sides have made progress during the proximity talks. The PA has asked the US administration for clarification of these statements, the officials said.