PMO blasts Erekat-Mottaki meeting

But earlier, senior Palestinian negotiator downplays suggestion of normalization between Fatah and Iran.

Erekat 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Erekat 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Saeb Erekat on Sunday played down a recent meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Sharm e-Sheikh, wondering what all the fuss was about. "We saw each other, it was just a regular meeting," he said during an interview with Israel Radio, laughing off a suggestion that there was "normalization between Fatah and Iran." He said he was dismayed that "two people shaking hands and meeting for 10 or 15 minutes" had made headlines. "After all," he continued, "it's not the first time; it's not something new," noting that the two had met recently in Davos and Riyadh. A senior Palestinian official had told AFP that the Erekat-Mottaki meeting took place three days ago. The official claimed that it was the first such meeting since the PA was established in 1994. "They discussed the internal Palestinian situation and the need for successful negotiations between Hamas and Fatah," he said. The two also discussed "the need for a balance between Fatah and Hamas, the need for support of dialogue [between the two groups]... regional conditions and how to strike a balance in support between Hamas and Fatah," he added. The Prime Minister's Office blasted Erekat for the meeting, saying it stands in stark contrast to the Palestinian refusal to negotiate with the Netanyahu government. "The Palestinian side has refused to allow the resumption of peace talks by placing preconditions on such a resumption," said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, referring to the Palestinian demand that Israel declare a total settlement freeze and accept a two-state solution before negotiations can be renewed. "It appears, however, that they have no qualms and place no preconditions upon dialogue with the most extreme and violent enemies of peace."