July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday told the U.S. mediator that the direct Palestinian- Israeli negotiation is subject to the progress that could be made by the ongoing indirect talks.

"We hope that this position is clear to the international community and the U.S. administration" which sponsors the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, following a meeting here between Abbas and the U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

"There can't be any talk or debate on the peace process or shifting to face-to-face negotiations before the borders of the (future) Palestinian state are ratified," Erekat added.

Mitchell has been leading the negotiations that started in May, aiming to bridge the gaps that prevent the two sides from holding direct negotiations by reaching an agreement on the borders of the future Palestinian statehood.

Erekat said Abbas' discussions with Mitchell focused on the issues of borders and security. Erekat also urged Israel to stop raiding the West Bank cities and halt settlement activities to give a chance to the peace talks.

Earlier, Abbas said he was awaiting responses from Israel on the two issues that the proximity talks tackle after the Palestinian side conveyed its stance to Israel through Mitchell.


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