Arab countries support Palestinians to halt talks with Israel

08:24, October 09, 2010      

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

The decision was made at the meeting of the AL peace initiative follow-up committee Friday in the Libyan city of Sirte. The meeting has been delayed twice to discuss the U.S.-backed Palestinian-Israeli direct talks which restarted on Sept. 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 U.S. to make more efforts to bring the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to the "right track," and create a better environment for talks.

There will be no peace talks unless Israel stops the Jewish settlement building completely, including in the east Jerusalem, said the statement declared by African Union(AU) commission chairperson Jean Ping. Ping is here to attend the second Afro-Arab summit slated to be held on Sunday.

"We have no choice but to support Abbas' position," Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad 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 Palestinian territories.

Abbas conveyed the Palestinian leadership's decision to the committee meeting chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem, before the ministers held a close-door discussion to form a unified Arab position on the direct talks. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem did not attend the committee. 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.

Source: Xinhua


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