Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
September 13, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The PLO's chief negotiator denied on Sunday, reports in the Arab media that he and another Palestinian officials were sparring over who would represent President Mahmoud Abbas at an upcoming peace summit.

Saeb Erekat told Ma'an that President Abbas appointed him as head of the Palestinian negotiations delegation, which meant he - and not Nabil Shaath - would attend the Sharm Ash-Sheikh summit on Tuesday, where peace talks that began on 2 September in Washington are set to continue.

It was unclear why Abbas would need a deputy at the talks, with all sides indicating that he would in fact be present at the discussions.

He said reports to the contrary in the Arab media - namely the Cairo-based Al-Ahram daily - were inappropriate and false.

The issues on the agenda for the meeting, Erekat added, would be: security, borders, Jerusalem, detainees, refugees, and water.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will also participate in the meeting, he confirmed.

Al-Ahram reported Saturday that Sha'ath and Erekat were waging a "silent battle" over who would represent Abbas in the event he was unable to attend the talks.

Shaath and Erekat issued conflicting statements early on in the negotiations, a fact cited by Al-Ahram as evidence of the dispute, which the newspaper reported required an internal meeting to resolve several days earlier.


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