Roundup: Arab League decides no talks resumption, seeking a UN resolution

09:36, December 16, 2010      

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Arab foreign ministers decided here Wednesday not to resume the Palestinian-Israel peace talks without a serious U.S. offer and agreed to bring up the issue to the UN Security Council.

The Arab peace initiative follow up committee issued a statement Wednesday night affirming that negotiations will not be resumed unless Washington makes a serious offer that will ensure an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in line with the peace process principles.

"The committee also agreed to prepare for taking the issue to the UN Security Council and to activate a decision by the committee on taking the Israeli settlement issue to the Security Council," according to the statement.

"Instructions have been given to Arab ambassadors at the United Nations to ask for a Security Council meeting on Israeli settlement activities," Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said in a press conference after an extraordinary meeting of the committee.

The committee convened Wednesday evening in the Arab League headquarters Cairo to make a collective decision on the fate of the peace process and to study other options in case of the peace talks failure within the coming period.

The committee has taken a number of steps, including preparations for discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict at the UN Security Council, Moussa said, adding the Israeli position has killed all hopes for reaching a settlement.

The Palestinians want a firmer position from the United States towards Israel, while the U.S. proposal for the Palestinians to resume peace talks with Israel is not encouraging, Palestinian Presidency spokesman Nabil Abul-Rhudeinah was quoted by Egypt's official MENA news agency as saying.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the meeting and briefed 14 Arab foreign ministers on the outcome of his talks in Washington and his meeting with U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell in Ramallah to revive the peace process.

The Wednesday meeting was held after the United States announced it had failed to persuade Israel to freeze settlement building as a condition to resume the suspended direct peace talks, signalling the end of direct peace negotiations and resuming of indirect talks.

The Palestinians halted the U.S.-sponsored direct talks with Israel in early October, four weeks after it resumed in Washington on September 2, due to the Israeli government's refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium over freezing settlement constructions in the Palestinian territories that ended on Sept. 26.

The previous meeting of the Arab peace initiative committee was held in Libya in October and gave the U.S. a one-month moratorium to convince Israel to halt settlement construction, otherwise, the Palestinians would go to the international community and use other diplomatic options instead.

The Palestinians had threatened that if Israel keeps insisting not to freeze settlement constructions, they would use other diplomatic options, mainly demanding the UN Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state. Israel warned the Palestinians not to carry out such actions.

U.S. envoy George Mitchell held separate talks in Cairo earlier on Wednesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Moussa. Mitchell told reporters after the meetings that the U.S. seeks to help the two parties reach an agreement to all final-status issues, and that would pave the way for a final peace treaty.

"That remains our goal," said Mitchell, while stressing that achieving peace between both parties "will not be easy by any means."

Mitchell added that both Palestinians and Israel still requested that the United States continue its efforts as peace mediator towards the realization of a framework agreement on all permanent issues including the fate of Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees and security arrangements.

Source: Xinhua

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