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Ba'ath-affiliated faction says talks 'waste of time'

Sept. 4, 2010 10:55 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 5, 2010 2:50 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian faction within the PLO said Friday it rejected the Palestinian Authority's decision to resume direct negotiations with Israel, describing negotiations as "serving only Israel" and a "waste of time."

Arab Liberation Front official Ibrahim Az-Za'aneen said at an iftar dinner in Khan Younis that his movement "refuses negotiations in all its forms direct and indirect, as the PA agreed to negotiations because of US pressure on them to serve Israel's aim of continuing talks without any result."

Az-Za'aneen further said the ALF, affiliated to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, will continue to support resistance against the occupation, adding that he hoped Islamic Jihad and Hamas would join the PLO "in order to form strong opposition to the Executive Committee's resolutions."

While the PLO endorsed a return to direct negotiations with Israel in late August, several factions within the body said only a minority had approved the decision.

President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu officially returned to the negotiation table on 2 September, 20-months after talks were broken off amid Israel's winter assault against Gaza.

Speaking to reporters on Friday during a brief break from re-launched peace talks, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to meet every two weeks in the region to continue talks.

The first set of talks will take place on 14-15 September in the Middle East - likely in Egypt according to the Associated Press - where Mitchell and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in attendance.

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