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Peres Cancels Meeting with Abbas

President Shimon Peres cancels a meeting with PA Chairman Abbas while Netanyahu reportedly agrees to resume talks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/3/2011, 9:41 AM

President Peres
President Peres
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A meeting that was supposed to have been held between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been cancelled at Peres’ request, a member of Abbas’ Fatah party said Tuesday.

Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath announced that the meeting had been cancelled, saying Peres had claimed that he had received nothing from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he could present to Abbas.

Shaath’s claims come after on Monday, another senior PA official said Netanyahu scuttled a secret meeting last week meant to head off a looming diplomatic showdown at the United Nations.

Yasser Abed Rabbo told reporters Peres asked Abbas to meet to discuss PA plans to seek recognition of their independence in September, but claimed Peres called to cancel at the last minute, saying Netanyahu opposed the meeting. Netanyahu denied this report.

Last Friday, Israeli media reported that talks have been taking between Peres and the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat. Those talks were reportedly fully coordinated with Netanyahu.

But Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh denied the report, saying it was “totally not correct.”

Meanwhile, reports continue to circulate about Netanyahu’s own initiative. On Tuesday it was reported that the Netanyahu government has confirmed it will accept renewed talks with Abbas, based on the 1949-1967 borders, if the PA scraps its initiative to ask the United Nations for recognition.

Renewed talks also are conditioned on Abbas’ recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, a statement he has said he never will make.