Dr. Saeb Erekat, head of the negotiations department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) stated that moving to direct talks and achieving peace cannot be conducted without progress in the two-state solution and the issue of borders.Dr. Erekat added that Israel must also stop its violations, ongoing invasions and arrests, and must lift all closures and halt its settlement activities.

His statements came after president Mahmoud Abbas and U.S Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, ended a meeting at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

“We hope that our message is clear”, Erekat stated, “This is our message to the United States administration and the international community”.

He also said that the Palestinian leadership hopes that all needed efforts would be conducted to resolve the issue of borders and security in order to advance to final status talks and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Erekat added that the meeting between Mitchell and Abbas discussed the main issues such as borders and security, and that president Abbas also complained to Mitchell about Israel’s home demolition policy in Jerusalem and deporting elected Jerusalem legislators and officials.

Abbas also demanded Israel halt its settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the surrounding area.

Erekat said that Mitchell will be touring again in the region, but did not set a date for the upcoming tour. Yet, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the United States intend to continue their talks.