Abbas and Mubarak meet in Cairo

Dina Ezzat , Thursday 9 Dec 2010

After a meeting in Cairo between Chairman Abbas and President Mubarak, the Palestinian leader announced that there will be no direct talks with Israel if settlement activities continue

Abbas and Mubarak
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, 9 Dec. 2010. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. (AP)

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas held talks this morning in Cairo with President Hosni Mubarak on the fate of the Middle East peace process following the US's failure to secure a freeze on illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

 "I explained to the Americans that we cannot have direct talks while Israel is going on with settlement activities," Abbas told reporters, following his meeting with Mubarak.

According to the Palestinian leader, a meeting, scheduled to take place in Washington within the next few days, between top Palestinian negotiators and US officials should clarify the US's position and thus help Arabs decide their next move.

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat will soon travel to the US for talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Erekat, Abbas said, is not planning any announced or un-announced meeting with Israeli officials who will simultaneously be in Washington

Abbas insisted that the message to be conveyed by Erekat to Washington is that any future negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis should be based on clear terms of reference – especially the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Meanwhile, Abbas said that his hour long talk with Mubarak examined possible future moves by the Palestinian. The intervention of the UN General Assembly and maybe the UN Security Council are high on the agenda of priorities, according to statements made by Abbas.

The Palestinian leader affirmed that the PA and Arab countries would call on the world community to recognise a future Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

During the past few days both Brazil and Argentina announced their recognition of a future Palestinian state.

Yesterday evening Abbas and Arab League Chief Amr Moussa examined the bleak situation. Following the talks, Moussa told reporters that Arabs will not submit to Israel's attempts to force open-ended negotiations on the Palestinians in parallel with aggressive settlement building.

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