Ma'an News Agency
October 2, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Arab Peace Initiative will hold an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Friday in Sirtre, Libya over direct negotiations before meeting for an extraordinary Arab League summit, the deputy Arab League chief said.

Ahmad Bin Hali told reporters Saturday that President Mahmoud Abbas will address the committee and updated officials on US efforts to save talks from collapse in light of Israel's decision not to extend its settlement freeze in the West Bank.

The decision to meet, he said, followed consultations with Arab League chief Amr Moussa and "involved parties" nearly a week after Israel's temporary freeze came to an end.

Bin Hali warned that by failing to halt settlement construction "Israel is blowing off and foiling talks," and said the meeting would be "very significant" in evaluating a stance on the continuation of direct negotiations.

Earlier, the PLO said it held Israel "responsible for obstructing talks," after meeting with Abbas and faction leaders and officials.

The Arab League deputy chief further said the Arab League has recognized difficulties US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has had in convincing Israel to halt settlement activity.

Although Abbas reiterated that he would withdraw from talks if Israel continued settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, he is expected to announce his stance on negotiations during the Arab League meeting.


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