Ma'an News Agency
August 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his request that direct peace talks with Palestinians go ahead without preconditions, during a meeting with US envoy to the peace process George Mitchell on Wednesday.

President Mahmoud Abbas, following his Tuesday meeting with Mitchell, told the press that he emphasized the need to base talks on a March statement by the Middle East Quartet, which outlined its position that a future Palestinian state should be based on the 1967 borders.

Israel daily newspaper Haaretz reported Thursday that when presented with the Palestinian conditions for talks - namely a clear framework supported directly by representatives from the United States - the US envoy did not dismiss the proposal.

The Quartet statement called for 24 months of talks with the goal of establishing a Palestinian state, and said the baseline of the talks must be a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders.

Haaretz quoted "Senior officials in Jerusalem who are involved in the efforts to renew direct peace talks," saying the conditions were not acceptable to the Israeli prime minister, who said the preconditions were not something the public would accept.

During his meeting with Netanyahu, Mitchell reportedly told him that Washington has not yet taken a position on the proposal yet, but told the Israeli leader that Abbas would be ready to enter talks directly if the formula was accepted.

Abbas flew to Cairo on Thursday morning for a tripartite meeting with Egyptian and Jordanian leaders, where he is expected to brief officials on the latest in the peace process.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Abbas laid out his three requests for peace talk parameters:

First, a tripartite meeting between Israeli, Palestinian and American negotiators, where sides would jointly develop a map for the direct talks, based on a principal of a two-state solution and the boundaries as they were on 4 June 1967.

Second, Abbas said, he requested that the United States lay the groundwork for talks, and for the objectives that those talks hoped to achieve.

The final condition Abbas said he put before Mitchell, was based on a March decision by the international Middle East Quartet, and later backed by the EU, calling for negotiations on the basis of an end to occupation and respect for international laws and UN decisions.

During the news conference, Abbas was insistent that the conditions he set forward were just and based on a genuine Palestinian will to enter peace talks, but demanding assurances that Israel was also an honest participant.

"We are rational and believe in our rights and the search for peace for our people," he said.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017