Sunday, September 20, 2009

Israel: Talks stalled because of Palestinians

Foreign Ministry rejects Abbas remarks, says Palestinians at fault for stalled negotiations

Roni Sofer

The Palestinian Authority is at fault for curbing any progress in the peace process, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

"The Authority is the one to prevent a meeting and resumption of the peace process," the Ministry said in response to earlier remarks by Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leader said Israel should be blamed for the stalled talks. "Ever since the government was formed, Israel is willing to meet wit the Palestinian Authoroity and resume peace negotiations with no pre-conditions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi said.

Abbas: Peace process stuck

Abbas said earlier Saturday that the peace process was "stuck" after the failure of the last mission by Special US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell.

Abbas made the remarks after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

US Envoy Mitchell returned to Jerusalem empty-handed Friday after his latest four-day mission in the region. Mitchell failed to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a freeze on Jewish settlements or a resumption Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

'We must focus on Israeli side'

President Abbas said it was now up to Israel to pave the way for peace negotiations, adding that Mr. Mitchell would resume his efforts with officials in the region after the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Abbas also said the Palestinian side has met all its obligations, adding that "we must focus on the Israeli side" and noting that Envoy Mitchell still has plenty of work ahead of him.

An agreement on a settlement freeze is believed necessary in order to open the way for a tripartite summit next week in New York between Netanyahu, Abbas, and President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN meeting.

Comment: This response is too little, too late. Abbas and his PR machine beat Israel, again, to the story!

No comments: