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Arab League backs Abbas on direct talks

07-30-2010 08:45 BJT

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The Arab League says it will back face-to-face peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, but only when the Palestinians believe the time is right. It has sent a letter to the US detailing its position. It's the latest in a series of delicate maneuvers aimed at bringing the two side round the negotiating table.

The US is pushing for direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis to begin by September.

Israel says it is ready for such talks to begin immediately, ramping up the pressure on the Palestinian side.

But knocking the ball firmly back into the U.S. court, the Palestinians said the decision to start direct talks would depend on how the U.S. responds to their concerns.

And now the Palestinians have the backing of the Arab League, who say it's up to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to decide whether the conditions for talks are right.

Amr Moussa, Arab League Secretary General, said, "We are addressing the Americans, as the Americans are addressing us. Now they know and they have received our point of view and this point of view has been documented and we are going to follow that strictly.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's position is that direct talks can only begin once Israel defines its idea of the size and shape of a future Palestinian state.

He wants written assurances from Israel and the Americans on this, along with a promise to halt Israeli settlements.

The Palestinians and the Arab league doubt Israel is willing to make real peace on terms the Palestinians can accept.

Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, Qatari Prime Minister, said, "The Israeli not serious. As you know, the position of the Israelis and United States and how they explain the problem is different than our position, as Arab, and I explained that before. I think we don't have guarantee but we have hopes. Is it going to succeed? I don't know I have my doubt."

Israel accepts the concept of a Palestinian state, with conditions. But it has ruled out giving up control of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as their capital.

On the settlements issue, Israel has instituted a 10-month slowdown of construction in the West Bank. But in East Jerusalem, Israeli settlement building policy remains unchanged.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source:

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