'US wants to launch low-level talks'

Reuters: Abbas studying plan for senior officials meet before top leaders.

abbas mitchell 311 (photo credit: AP)
abbas mitchell 311
(photo credit: AP)
A US proposal to launch low-level peace talks, which was handed over by US Mideast envoy George Mitchell on his recent visit to the region, is being studied by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to Palestinian officials quoted in a Reuters report Monday.
The plan would see negotiations start at a lower level, with discussions held between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials before full-scale are launched between top leaders.
Palestinian sources quoted in the Reuters report said that Mitchell had also suggested "confidence building measures" to improve living conditions in the West Bank.
"Holding a low-level meeting with the Israelis that tackles issues related to the daily life of Palestinians will not be an alternative to political negotiations," one Palestinian official was quoted as saying.
After meeting with Mitchell early Sunday morning, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that "new and interesting ideas" had been raised for the resumption of peace talks.
"I expressed my hope that these new ideas will allow for the renewal of the [negotiating] process," he had said.
He also said that the Israeli government had great appreciation for Mitchell and US President Barack Obama for their continuing efforts to renew peace talks.
Israeli officials quoted in the Reuters report stressed that the Netanyahu government was ready to participate in US-brokered talks.