May PNA move to direct talks in September due to U.S. pressure?

17:07, July 13, 2010      

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U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell waves to the media beside chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (2nd R) before Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 2, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

by Saud Abu Ramadan

It has been obvious that over the past two weeks, the U.S. administration has been exerting pressure on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to move from the proximity talks with Israel to the face-to-face negotiations over the permanent status issues.

The Ramallah-based al-Ayyam Daily on Monday quoted senior Palestinian sources as saying that U.S. peace envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, who will arrive in Ramallah on Saturday, would urge the PNA to move to the face-to-face peace negotiations with Israel in September.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday told Xinhua that Mitchell will hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday.

Erekat denied that Mitchell would urge the Palestinian side to move from proximity talks to direct talks in September.

"The Palestinian side is sticking to its stance that it is important to achieve a progress in the files of security and borders in addition to the complete cessation of settlement construction and accept to resume the peace talks from the point it ended in December 2008," said Erekat.

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