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Abbas wants Jordan meeting to be last

Jan. 25, 2012 10:15 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 26, 2012 7:30 P.M.)
AMMAN, Jordan (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority officials asserted Wednesday that President Mahmoud Abbas "refused and will continue to refuse” holding more meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jordan.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are scheduled to hold a fifth meeting in Amman on Wednesday in an attempt to resume face-to-face peace negotiations and sort out unresolved issues.

But the talks, between Saeb Erekat and Yitzhak Molcho, will be the last opportunity to agree on a starting point to restart negotiations if Israel fails to address the future borders of a Palestinian state, PA officials said.

Abbas has informed King Abdullah of Jordan that while the PA appreciates Jordan's efforts, the five meetings have brought nothing new, and Israel has refused to answer bigger questions such as borders and a starting point for the talks.

Israel, Abbas believes, tried to "trick" the Palestinian negotiators into discussing marginal security and administrative arrangements which have no connection to the peace process.

The president is expected to declare that the meetings in Amman have failed, and he will revert to the position held since September 2010 rejecting a continuation of talks until Israel freezes settlements.

Abbas is also expected to take the issue to the Arab League follow-up committee which is scheduled to convene in the first week of February. He will discuss with Arab officials the resumption of the PA's attempts to seek recognition of a Palestinian state with international organizations such as the UN Security Council and others.

PLO official Hanna Amirah told reporters on Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership would not take a decision to extend negotiations with the Israeli side because the government of Benjamin Netanyahu “doesn’t seek at this stage to achieve any positive progress in the peace process with the Palestinian Authority.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources have highlighted that the international Quartet placed pressure on the Palestinian side after the leadership said it wouldn’t join further meetings with the Israelis.

Palestinian officials pointed out that a series of internal meetings would be held first in Palestine, then in Egypt after Abbas returns from his European tour. The Arab follow-up committee will then convene on Feb. 29.
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