United States Middle East Peace Envoy, George Mitchell, left the Middle East on Friday without achieving any breakthrough in the troubled direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.Mitchell could not convince Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to extend the freeze on settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
He said that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are on hold, but reiterated the commitment of the U.S. Administration to support indirect talks between the two sides.
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, Mitchell said that “both Abbas and Netanyahu agreed to keep the talks confidential”, away from the media, and that all parties have the same goal of achieving comprehensive Middle East peace.
Dr. Saeb Erekat, head of the Negotiations Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), stated that the Obama administration informed the Palestinian side that it will continue its mediation efforts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
During a press conference with Mitchell, Erekat said that the Palestinian stance is clear; Israel must halt its settlement activities in order to give the peace process a chance to advance.
Erekat also stated that the Palestinian and American sides will continue their talks, and that The United States vowed to practice all needed efforts in to achieve a two-state solution.
Mitchell also held a meeting with Netanyahu but the meeting did not lead to any positive outcome as the Israeli Prime Minister did not agree to halt settlement activities in the occupied territories.
In related news, the Arab League had officially postponed a meeting in which Abbas was to inform Arab leaders on the latest developments in peace talks with Israel.
Arab leaders were also to make a decision regarding the fate of direct talks with Israel, especially amidst ongoing settlement activities in the occupied territories.
The Middle East News Agency in Egypt reported that Cairo called for a meeting on the sidelines of the urgent Arab Summit scheduled to be held on October 9 in Sirt Libyan city.