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PA says no negotiations without end to Israeli settlement expansion

February 17, 2014 at 11:15 pm

A senior member of the Central Committee of Fatah has said that the next meeting of the Arab Follow-up Committee will be told by the Palestinian leadership that there will be no return to negotiations without an end to Israel’s settlement expansion and commitment to the terms of reference of the peace process. Azzam Al-Ahmad said that a summary of the Palestinian position will be presented after the leadership’s evaluation of the exploratory meetings held in Amman.

In a press release issued by Fatah’s Office of Information, Al-Ahmad said that the Israelis did not present anything of value to move the peace process forward and revive negotiations. The latter have been stalled, he said, by the intransigence of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. He pointed out that the Israelis want to convert the exploratory meetings into negotiations.

On the issue of Palestinian national reconciliation, Al-Ahmad explained that many of the outstanding issues have been implemented, including the issue of passports, on the instructions of President Mahmoud Abbas. “Most of the political detainees have been released,” he said, although the reconciliation file and other outstanding issues will not be completed until after the government of national unity has been formed.

“The Central Election Commission has its headquarters in the Gaza Strip but hasn’t started its work on the ground yet for several reasons,” he added. The commission was expected to hold a meeting with President Abbas to discuss these issues on 31 January.