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Israel bars chief Palestinian negotiator from entering Jerusalem for scheduled talks
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09:46, November 12, 2007

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Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei's office said on Sunday night that Israel barred him from reaching Jerusalem to join a scheduled meeting with his Israeli negotiators.

Israeli soldiers stationed at an army barrier east of Jerusalem stopped Qurei's convoy and prevented it to pass earlier in the night when Qurei was heading to join a joint Israeli-Palestinian negotiators meeting, Qurei's office in Ramallah said in a statement.

According to the statement, the Israeli soldiers didn't give areas on why they didn't let Qurei's car to pass through the barrier.

Qurei then headed back to Ramallah and held contacts with President Mahmoud Abbas who arrived in Cairo later on Saturday, and briefed him on what happened at the Israeli army road barrier.

Sources close to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Levni revealed that Levni herself had immediately contacted Qurei, her counterpart in the peace negotiations, and apologized for what happened.

"Foreign Minister Levni said she would deal with the issue of barring Abu Alla (Qurei) to cross through the Israeli army roadblock outside Jerusalem," the sources told the Israel Radio.

In reaction to the incident, Fahmi Za'areer, spokesman of Abbas' Fatah movement in the West Bank denounced in a statement that barring Qurei at the Israeli army roadblock from passing through indicates that Israel has no seriousness in the talks.

"There is no doubt that such a behavior proves that Israel has no good intentions towards the entire peace process and towards Annapolis summit (on Mideast peace)," said Za'areer.

Source: Xinhua

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