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U.S. offers to review Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: official

12-15-2010 08:16 BJT

RAMALLAH, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States has suggested to discuss with Israel and the Palestinians their positions over final-status issues that obstruct the peace process, a Palestinian official said Tuesday.

U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell (C) visits the al-Jenedi dairy factory
in the West Bank city of Hebron, Dec. 14, 2010. (Xinhua/Mamoun Wazwaz)

Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian negotiator, said that Washington offered to "review the negotiations" and did not suggest indirect talks.

George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, made the offer when meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

"Mitchell presented a paper of ideas affirming the U.S. commitment to two-state solution and sponsoring the peace process, " Shaath told Xinhua.

The Palestinians want "serious guarantees" from Washington that it will stop Israeli settlement activities and "providing political basis" leading to the creation of the Palestinian statehood alongside Israel, according to Shaath.

"If the United States cannot press Israel, it should not obstruct the Palestinian plan to seek an international recognition of our state" through the Security Council, Shaath said, referring to one of several options that Palestinians will take if they failed to reach a negotiated deal with Israel.

Shaath said that the Palestinians informed Mitchell they will not resume any form of negotiations with Israel unless it stops building Jewish settlements.

The negotiations collapsed in September, when Israel allowed settlement building in the West Bank to resume after 10 months of partial halt.

The Palestinians will respond to the U.S. ideas after they consult with Arab states, Shaath said. An Arab League committee overseeing peace with Israel will meet Wednesday in Cairo. "Our position would not be made before the meeting in Cairo."

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