PA leader confirms US pressuring him for direct talks.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday criticized US President Barack Obama for failing to provide him with clear answers to a number of questions regarding the future of peace talks with Israel.Abbas also confirmed that Obama has been exerting pressure on him to enter direct negotiations with Israel.RELATED:Obama supports Abbas leadershipPA wants guarantees for direct talksAbbas was speaking during a closed meeting of members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in Ramallah.Abbas was quoted by some Fatah operatives as saying that Egypt and Jordan supported the PA’s refusal to move to direct talks unless progress is first achieved on the issues of security and the future borders of a Palestinian state.“We can’t go to direct negotiations like blind people,” Abbas was quoted as saying.“We can’t enter direct negotiations without clarity.”AdvertisementAbbas complained that Obama recently sent him an oral message urging him to launch direct negotiations with Israel unconditionally.According to the PA president, Obama’s message was “unclear and ambiguous.”Abbas was quoted as saying: “With all due respect to the American president, his message was not clear. We want to clear answers to questions we presented to the Americans, especially regarding security, borders and the status of Jerusalem. We continue to insist that any negotiations with Israel be based on recognition of 1967 as the future borders of the Palestinian state.”Abbas said that the US administration has also failed to give the Palestinians a clear answer with regard to Israel’s policy of settlement construction.“Before we go to the negotiations, we want clear answers on the borders and settlements,” Abbas stressed.He is also under pressure from Fatah to reshuffle the cabinet of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad so that it would include more ministers from Fatah.Some of the Fatah operatives at the meeting attacked Fayyad and accused him of “marginalizing” their faction and denying their supporters key jobs.Muhammad Taha, a member of the Revolutionary Council, said he expected a cabinet reshuffle within two weeks. He said that the discussions also focused on the severe financial crisis in Fatah.Another council member, Sabri Saidam, said Abbas asked the Fatah council to present him with a name of candidates for ministerial posts in a new cabinet.
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