Arabs reject new talks, want UN move against Israel settlements

Qatari PM said, "in light of the talks with Mitchell, the American mediator has nothing new to offer."

Arabs reject new talks, want UN move against Israel settlements

Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday rejected more Palestinian-Israeli peace talks without a "serious offer" and said they will seek a UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement expansion.

"Resuming the negotiations will be conditioned on receiving a serious offer that guarantees an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict," the ministers said in a statement read by Arab League chief Amr Mussa.

The Arab League ministerial follow-up committee on the peace process sees that the direction of talks has become ineffective and it has decided against the resumption of negotiations, Mussa said.

The ministers also decided to bring up the issue of Israeli settlements again to the Security Council, wanting the UN body to adopt a resolution "that confirms ... the illegal nature of this activity and that would oblige Israel to stop it.

They also called on the United States, which has vetoed resolutions against Israel in the past, not to obstruct such an effort.

Mussa said Arab ambassadors at the United Nations were told to demand an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

"US has nothing to offer"

They announced their decision after meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell had returned to the region on Monday following acknowledgment by Washington that it had failed to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze, which signaled the end of direct peace negotiations and a return to indirect talks.

He met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and later with Abbas.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, who chaired the Arab League meeting, accused the United States of adopting the Israeli view point.

"There is a real problem facing the peace process especially given that the American mediator has abandoned its pledges and adopted the Israeli point of view," he said after the meeting.

"We know there will be an American veto if we go to the Security Council but this veto will not stop us from going," said Sheikh Hamad, who is also Qatar's prime minister.

A senior Palestinian official had said Abbas was going to the Arab League for recommendations on the Palestinians' next step. The Palestinian leadership would take decisions at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee in the coming days, the official said.

Al-Thani said he did "not expect anything" from the United States. "In light of the talks with Mitchell, the American mediator has nothing new to offer," he said.

However, the Palestinians demand US guarantees ensuring a complete halt to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem and also call for US recognition of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967.

Agencies

Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2010, 12:18
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