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PA will not commit to prisoner deal if next release delayed

Dec. 11, 2013 10:02 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2013 4:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The undersecretary of the ministry of prisoners said Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership would not commit to an agreement to free Palestinian prisoners if the US postpones the release of a third batch which is scheduled for Dec. 29.

Ziad Abu Ein told Ma’an that the deal included the release of 104 veteran prisoners and in exchange the PA would not go to UN organizations seeking recognition for nine months. However, he said, if the release is postponed the PA will go to international organizations and sue Israel internationally.

Abu Ein said that the Palestinian leadership did not receive any official request from the US to postpone the release of the third batch.

However, it was reported on Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the delay of the next batch of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for release.

Abu Ein explained that the Palestinian Authority perceived the step as connecting political events and the prisoner release, which contradicts the agreement and is rejected by the PA.

Abu Ein added that Kerry’s earlier comments about the third batch of prisoners was an attempt to pressure President Mahmoud Abbas to accept US proposals to move forward negotiations.

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