Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Abbas met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week, Palestinian officials said on Monday, his first publicly declared meeting with an Israeli government official for almost a year.

Abbas told members of Fatah's Revolutionary Council that Barak had requested the meeting in Jordan to discuss the possibility of resuming negotiations which broke down a year ago because of a row over Jewish settlement expansion.

"The meeting did not produce any result," a Fatah official who heard him speak told Reuters, declining to be named because the meeting had been closed to the media.

Israel's Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

With the peace process at a standstill, Abbas is planning to seek UN endorsement of Palestinian statehood at New York's General Assembly meeting later this month.

Israel and the United States, its main ally, are both opposed to the move. Israel sees it as an attempt to undermine its own legitimacy. The United States says the step is unhelpful to efforts to revive bilateral talks.

The Palestinians say UN endorsement of statehood in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, while changing nothing on the ground, will strengthen their position in future peace talks with Israel, among other benefits.


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