Arab League supports Palestinians over talks

Friday, October 8, 2010

TRIPOLI - The foreign ministers of the Arab League (AL) member states have decided to support the Palestinians to halt talks with Israel amid Israeli settlement constructions.

The decision was made at a meeting of the AL peace initiative follow-up committee Friday in the Libyan city of Sirte, Xinhua reported. The meeting was delayed twice to discuss the US-backed Palestinian-Israeli direct talks which restarted Sep 2 in Washington.

The AL committee issued an official statement to accuse Israel of being responsible for the talks’ suspension which led to “serious consequences”.

The statement also called on the US to make more efforts to bring the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to the “right track”, and create a better environment for talks.

“We have no choice but to support Abbas’ position,” Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem told reporter after the meeting.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the major Palestinian political faction Fatah Party, both led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, decided last Saturday to suspend the direct peace talks with Israel until the Israeli government freezes settlement construction in the West Bank.

Abbas conveyed the Palestinian leadership’s decision to the committee meeting chaired by the Qatari foreign minister, before the ministers held a close-door discussion to form a unified Arab position on the direct talks.

The Palestinian top leader left the meeting hall immediately after the meeting was closed, without any comments on the issue.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, the spokesman of Abbas, told Xinhua that if Israel insists on not freeing settlement building, there will be no peace talks. The spokesman reaffirmed that the committee fully supports Abbas’ position.

All of the Palestinian demands have been responded by the AL committee, Nabil added, without deliberating the details.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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