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Erekat: The US administration has not delivered a draft agreement

March 8, 2014 6:06 P.M. (Updated: March 10, 2014 4:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The chief Palestinian negotiator said on Saturday that the US administration has not yet delivered any written framework agreement to the Palestinian Authority nor to Israel, denouncing claims otherwise as "baseless."

Saeb Erekat also told Ma'an on Saturday morning that "the US administration has never suggested that Beit Hanina would be the capital of the future Palestinian state," referring to rumors that Palestinians would be offered a single suburb of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as their capital.

"We have not received any written framework agreement and we have never been told during any meeting with Israeli and US officials that Beit Hanina would be a capital of the state of Palestine. Everything that has been said in media outlets is baseless, he said.

Asked whether Israeli prime minister Netanyahu might have received a written agreement during his recent visit to Washington, Erekat said: "I am not Netanyahu's spokesman."

Erekat also told Ma'an that "neither side has been asked to postpone the deadline," reiterating that postponing an agreement is unacceptable to the Palestinians.

Erekat's statements come after Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas denied the validity of a report in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds that claimed that US president Barack Obama had delivered a written copy of a suggested framework agreement to Israeli premier Netanyahu and Saeb Erekat.

The report also claimed that the draft agreement suggested that the Beit Hanina neighborhood in the northern part of East Jerusalem could be a capital of the future Palestinian state, despite the fact that Palestinians consider East Jerusalem in its entirety as their capital.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrive in Washington DC on March 17 for talks with US president Barack Obama.

Saeb Erekat has already visited Washington and held talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Direct negotiations began in July between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a US-led attempt to restart the deadlocked peace process.

Israel has announced plans to build thousands of homes in illegal settlements across the West Bank over the course of the talks, inhibiting US efforts.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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