- Title: WEST BANK: U.S envoy meets Palestinian president in new round of peace talks
- Date: 20th May 2010
- Summary: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (MAY 19, 2010) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL HEADQUARTERS CONVOY OF U.S MIDDLE EAST ENVOY GEORGE MITCHELL ARRIVING AT PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUND CAMERAMAN U.S MIDDLE EAST ENVOY GEORGE MITCHELL BEING GREETED AND LED INTO BUILDING BY CHIEF NEGOTIATOR SAEB EREKAT CAMERA LENS VARIOUS OF PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS AND HIS TEAM MEETING WITH MITCHELL AND HIS TEAM ABBAS WALKS MITCHELL OUT ABBAS AND MITCHELL SAYING GOODBYE PALESTINIAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (English) PALESTINIAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR SAEB EREKAT, SAYING: "We are talking and focusing on borders and security. We hope that in the next four months we can achieve the two-state solution on the 1967 borders." SECURITY (SOUNDBITE) (English) PALESTINIAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR SAEB EREKAT, SAYING: "We are not even asking Senator Mitchell what are you talking with the Israelis about. This is the proximity talks, we have an agreed agenda with the Americans, so as far as we are concerned we are talking about permanent status issues, we are talking about borders and we are talking about security" WIDE OF PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUND
- Embargoed: 4th June 2010 13:00
- Reuters ID: LVADIGM4N0M8V8NRNW52HD5WH7L4
- Story Text: U.S Middle East envoy Mitchell meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in new round of peace talks.
U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy met on Wednesday (May 19) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah for a new round of indirect peace talks.
George Mitchell will shuttle between Israel and the West Bank for the first substantive sessions since the Palestinians and Israelis agreed to the indirect "proximity" talks, which have been given a maximum of four months to produce results.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he hoped an agreement for a two-state solution would be reached within that time-frame.
"We are talking and focusing on borders and security. We hope that in the next four months we can achieve the two-state solution on the 1967 borders," Erekat told reporters after the meeting.
Although neither side sees promise for a breakthrough, both seem to be taking trust-building steps.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week his government is willing to take what he describes as difficult steps.
Government sources said Netanyahu is examining favourably a proposal to give back land from Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank to build a road between Ramallah and a new Palestinian town under construction.
Settlements in the West Bank are built on Palestinian land and are opposed by the international community. A world court has deemed the settlements as illegal in accordance to international law.
The Palestinians and Arab countries have given the talks a four month period in order to bear results. A complete agreement which resolves the final status issue is what is demanded by both the Palestinians and the Arab League which approved this last bid for negotiations.
"We are not even asking Senator Mitchell what are you talking with the Israelis about. This is the proximity talks, we have an agreed agenda with the Americans, so as far as we are concerned we are talking about permanent status issues, we are talking about borders and we are talking about security," Erekat told reporters when asked about what the Israeli side is discussing with Mitchell.
The White House has said it will hold either side accountable for any actions taken that could undermine the negotiations.
The pledge appeared aimed in part at satisfying Abbas's fears that Israel's right-leaning government might announce further expansion of Jewish housing settlements in and around Arab East Jerusalem, land captured and annexed along with the West Bank by Israel in a move not recognised internationally.
Obama also urged Abbas to do all he can to prevent acts of incitement or delegitimisation of Israel.
Mitchell is expected to meet with Netanyahu on Thursday (May 20).
Direct peace talks were suspended in late 2008.
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