Abbas, ready to talk?
Photo: AP
Netanyahu and Mitchell in London Wednesday
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

Palestinians: Abbas open to meeting with Netanyahu

Sources say PA president open to first meeting with Israeli prime minister at United Nations next month. Officials stress Abbas not dropping conditions of settlement freeze, say meeting is chance to talk, but would not amount to negotiations

Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas is open to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations next month.


The meeting would be the first between the two leaders since Netanyahu took office in March.


Earlier, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said "there is a possibility" that a three-way meeting may be held between Abbas, Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in September.


Abbas has refused to reopen peace talks until Netanyahu halts all construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli leader rejects this demand.


The Palestinian officials say Abbas is not dropping his conditions. They say the meeting would be a chance to talk, but would not amount to negotiations.


Abbas on Wednesday spoke before the National Palestinian Council, which is slated to elect new members to its executive committee, and reiterated his stance.


Abbas said there would be no talks amid construction in settlements, and said that if negotiations are renewed, they will not be picked up from the starting point.


He added that the Palestinians would not agree to a Palestinian State with temporary borders, and that "we are determined to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, on all the territory that was occupied in June 1967".


Netanyahu said in a meeting with US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell in London on Wednesday that he hopes peace talks can restart soon.


Members of Netanyahu's entourage said the meeting was good and were cautiously optimistic as to its results.


Roni Sofer contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 08.26.09, 14:48
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