Mitchell with Saeb Erekat
US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell presented a document of "unofficial" offers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday. But the report adds Mitchell offered no US guarantees.
The paper cited Palestinian officials as saying that according to Mitchell's offer, the discussion on borders would be shared with Egypt and Jordan. He also offered "a logical and just solution for the issue of refugees", an agreement on water distribution, and "a debate on the claims of both sides to Jerusalem".
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However, the report says, the document offers nothing in the way of a withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 borders, or from east Jerusalem.
Later Wednesday a Palestinian delegation is expected to meet an Egyptian delegation in Cairo, as a prelude to talks on the peace process set to be held by the Arab League. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the delegations would demand the US present details on its vision for a solution.
After a meeting with Abbas on Tuesday, Mitchell said he plans to return to the region soon in order continue his efforts at promoting peace talks.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said following the meeting that the Palestinian side had presented Mitchell with its view, namely that peace talks should "rely on the international decisions saying a Palestinian state should be established with the 1967 borders, and that east Jerusalem is occupied just like the other Palestinian territories".
Despite the Palestinians' reluctance, talks are to be held indirectly over the next few days. The US will not demand a total halt in West Bank settlement construction, but has told Israel to refrain from making any moves that would lead to another stalemate.
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