Erekat: Building complicates talks

Dan Meridor: No promise to stop West Bank construction.

saeb erekat good pic 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
saeb erekat good pic 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli's planning of construction in east Jerusalem will make continuation of proximity talks "difficult," Chief Palestinian authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday in an interview with Army Radio.
While Erekat would neither confirm nor deny that planning to build in the contested area would effectively stop the talks, he did underline that we "don't have much time," so "why should either side do something to complicate the process."
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Erekat also stressed that the Palestinians have no desire to leave the talks, but that the continual building in east Jerusalem and demolition of Palestinian residences make it difficult to proceed.
When asked about recent tension between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Erekat said that the relationship between the two leaders was fine. "Any reported tension between the two has been cooked up by  Israeli media," Erekat said.
Meridor: Building moratorium not on the table
Meanwhile, IntelligenceAgencies Minister and Minister for Atomic Affairs Dan Meridor underlined that a building moratorium is not on the table.
When asked whether a deal to cease building was agreed upon between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, Meridor told Army Radio that "there is no Israeli promise not to build."
"During the four to five months of negotiation, Israel made no promise not to continue building," Meridor said.
The minister also stated that proximity talks alone would not be helpful. "Only direct talks will create an enduring peace," he said.
"Israel is not interested in the status-quo, Israel wants to move forward. The Palestinians want to move forward. Therefore it is in the interests of both sides to negotiate directly," Meridor said.
While Meridor mentioned the Palestinian interest in moving the process forward, he also underlined that the process cannot be one-sided. "We need symmetry in this process for it to succeed," he said.