JPost - Mitchell meets Abbas in Ramallah
- JPost -
The Jerusalem Post
Mitchell meets Abbas in Ramallah
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND HERB KEINON
Erekat: No direct talks until progress made on borders, blockade.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell met with Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday.
Chief PA Negotiator Saeb Erakat said after the meeting that moving from
proximity talks to direct talks as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has
suggested is impossible as long as their is no progress made on the
issue of borders and Israel continues the blockades and arrests, Israel
The destruction of homes in Silwan was also discussed in the meeting, as
was the expulsion of Hamas officials from east Jerusalem.
Abbas told reporters from the Hebrew media on Tuesday he is willing to
enter direct negotiations with the Netanyahu government, as soon as he
hears from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regarding Israel’s position
on borders and security issues.
Abbas, in the briefing with Israeli journalists in Ramallah, said that
originally he wanted to hear from Netanyahu whether he was willing to
accept the understandings agreed upon by his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.
When no answer from Netanyahu was forthcoming regarding the Olmert
offer, Abbas said at Tuesday’s briefing, he sent a message through US
envoy George Mitchell saying that he would suffice with an answer on
only two of the issues: borders and security.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Mitchell in Jerusalem on Tuesday to
discuss the possibility of moving to direct talks with the Palestinian
Barak said the move to direct talks would require a Palestinian
willingness to do so without preconditions.
The defense minister is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad in the coming days. Barak said the two would
discuss the move to direct talks as well as cooperation between Israel
and the PA on security issues.