News / Middle East

Abbas: No Direct Peace Talks with Israel Until Settlement Construction Stops

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, 09 Dec 2010
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, 09 Dec 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated a previous demand that Israel halt all settlement building before direct peace talks can resume, during a meeting Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

It was a day of intense diplomatic activity, as Palestinian negotiators met with top Egyptian and Arab League officials. Palestinian President Abbas stressed that he had come for the support and consul of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, as the Palestinians and the Arabs contemplate what to do next following the most recent snag in the on-again, off-again peace process.

Abbas told journalists, after meeting President Mubarak, that he will accept no direct peace talks with Israel, so long as the Jewish state continues to build settlements on Palestinian land.

He said Palestinian position, as well as that of President Mubarak, is that there can be no negotiations so long as [Israeli] settlements continue. He stressed that he has conveyed this position to the U.S. and that the Palestinian side is demanding that clear rules be put in place.

The U.S. informed Palestinian leaders, several days ago, that it had been unable to persuade Israel to agree to prolong a freeze in settlement activity on the West Bank or in [East] Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leader indicated that he was sending top negotiator Saeb Erekat to Washington to find out what the U.S. intends to do with the peace process, now that Israel has refused to halt settlement activity.

He said he isn't quite sure what Israel and the U.S. have determined to do next, but that he will find out the answer to that question in the next few days. He emphasized that [top negotiator] Saeb Erekat is now on his way to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as with [U.S. envoy] George Mitchell.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is also due to visit Washington to attend a conference but has downplayed speculation he might be involved in talks.

Abbas also left the final decision on talks, either direct or indirect, with Arab and Palestinian leaders.  The Arab League "follow-up committee" is due to meet in Cairo to discuss the current diplomatic impasse in the next few days.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has concurred with the Palestinian position on settlement activity.

Moussa said the Arabs will not accept direct negotiations so long as Israel continues to build settlements, because that would be tantamount to unconditionally accepting Israeli terms. He added that the Arabs plan to listen to what U.S. envoy George Mitchell has to say in his upcoming visit to the region, as well as what the U.S. has to say to the Palestinians in Washington.

The Arab League chief did not, however, use strong language or threaten drastic action, as he has done at recent meetings of the Arab League follow-up committee. Moderate Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are known to prefer a diplomatic approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, despite pressure from Syria and other hardline states to be more pro-active.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid