Ma'an News Agency
August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas will continue consulting with the US administration over resuming direct talks with Israel, a presidential spokesman said after the leader met with US official David Hale in Ramallah on Sunday.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh said some progress has been made, but the Palestinian Authority would only announce its stance on direct talks when the Quartet releases its expected statement Monday.

Hale left Ramallah shortly after midnight and was expected to deliver a statement to Abbas on the US stance on the Quartet statement. PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo also attended the meeting, a source said.

The PA will continue to consult with Arab nations and the Quartet, the spokesman added.

Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Dahlan told Ma'an that it was "too early" to discuss dates for resuming talks.

Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse reported that Israel would reject any preconditions set out by the Quartet.

"Israel is ready to start direct negotiations immediately, but without any preconditions," an Israeli official told the French news wire on condition of anonymity.

"The Palestinians, who have lost valuable time by refusing to revive these direct contacts, will present all the topics they want to discuss at the negotiating table," the official added.

The PA said it expected the statement to be modeled on a previous statement issued in March calling on Israel to halt all settlement construction and for the direct talks to lead to a final peace deal in two years.

Israel says such a halt is considered a precondition, but the PA maintains that it is a requirement set out in previous agreements, including the Road Map.

The US has been brokering talks between PA and Israeli leaders since May, which were given a four-month deadline by the Arab League. Abbas said he was under "intense" US pressure to re-enter the talks, which broke off in 2008 as Israel launched Operation Cast Lead.

The proximity talks, mediated by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, were also derailed in March as Israel announced further settlement expansion to an illegal settlement in East Jerusalem during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden.


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