Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: AFP
Arab League meeting
Photo: AP

Arab League backs Abbas on freeze demand

Spokesman for Abbas says Arab leaders support Palestinian president's refusal to continue direct peace talks unless settlement construction freeze is extended, adds alternatives for talks to be discussed in coming weeks

Arab states say direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not advancing and will discuss alternatives in the coming weeks, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday.


Meeting in the Libyan town of Sirte, Arab League foreign ministers endorsed Abbas's refusal to continue the talks unless Israel extends its moratorium on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.


But they want to keep the process going for now.


"The Arab follow-up committee will convene another meeting in coming few weeks to study the alternatives and the ideas that were presented by the president," Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters.


He did not elaborate on any "alternatives" aired by Abbas at the closed-door meeting.


But he denied reports there had been a recommendation to go back to indirect talks and to give Washington a one-month deadline to resolve the deadlock.


At the urging of Washington, the Arab foreign ministers were seeking ways to avert the collapse of the process launched by the White House just five weeks ago.


"There are no talks at the moment because the position of the Israelis is very, very negative. They are not cooperating in the negotiations," Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said earlier on Friday before hearing from Abbas.


He made clear the committee would not be telling the Palestinian president what to do next, but listening.


Abu Rdainah earlier said Abbas told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a telephone conversation on Thursday that "Israel must fully stop settlement activities so that the peace process can succeed".


"The Americans told us that they are continuing with their efforts with Israeli government. We are waiting to see the result of these efforts," he added.



פרסום ראשון: 10.08.10, 23:02
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