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New Mideast Talks Hit an Impasse


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Fatah central committee at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 29, 2012.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Fatah central committee at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 29, 2012.

The latest international effort to revive the Middle East peace process has run into trouble.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are blaming each other after five rounds of exploratory talks this month in Jordan hit an impasse. The aim of the talks is to revive direct peace negotiations that have been deadlocked for three years.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel did not offer detailed proposals on the future borders of a Palestinian state. In remarks published by the Palestinian news agency, Abbas accused Israel of defying international guidelines for peace and foiling the talks.

His comments were echoed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. “It is time to recognize the failings of this process. It has failed and the process is in bad need of serious direction," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed a finger at the Palestinians. He told the Israeli Cabinet the Palestinians refused to even discuss Israel's security needs.

Netanyahu said the signs are not very good, but he hopes that the Palestinians “will come to their senses” and return to the negotiating table.

The United States and European Union have also urged the Palestinians to continue the talks, saying negotiations with Israel are the only way to achieve a two-state solution and peace.

President Abbas says he will make a final decision on whether or not to continue the exploratory talks after consulting with the Arab League later this week.

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