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Fatah demands changes to Kerry's plan

July 18, 2013 6:10 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2013 12:09 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Fatah demanded on Thursday that changes be made to US Secretary of State John Kerry's Middle East peace plan, following a meeting in Ramallah, an official said.

"Fatah wants to make some alterations to Kerry's plan... because the proposed ideas are not encouraging for a return to negotiations," a top official of the party of President Mahmoud Abbas said.

"The central committee is demanding, for a return to talks... that Kerry announce they should be based on the 1967 lines," said Amin Maqbul, secretary general of the Fatah movement's Revolutionary Council.

The announcement came after two rounds of intensive talks on Tuesday and Wednesday between Kerry and Abbas.

It was the top US diplomat's sixth visit to the region in as many months to try to broker a compromise formula to allow a resumption of direct peace talks after a three-year hiatus.

Israel had rejected Palestinian demands for a publicly declared freeze to all settlement construction in the occupied territories as a condition to resume talks, and Abbas and his negotiating team had referred those terms to the Palestinian political leadership.

The rejection by the leadership of Abbas's own Fatah movement of the blueprint meant that its planned referral to the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which also includes dissident factions, was unlikely to go ahead.

The US State Department acknowledged that Kerry's efforts had suffered a setback despite their endorsement on Wednesday by Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi and senior Gulf Arab diplomats.

"There are currently no plans for an announcement on the resumption of negotiations," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Kerry had extended his latest visit to the region in the hope of a hard-fought agreement on a return to talks.

"Secretary Kerry will remain in Amman on Thursday night to determine if there is additional work that requires his presence before he returns to the United States," a State Department official said.

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