PA Negotiator Rejects Any Extension of Talks
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has ruled out the possibility of extending peace talks with Israel beyond their nine-month timeframe, according to the PA's chief negotiator Saeb Erakat.
"We turn down any extension," Erakat told the official Voice of Palestine radio station on Monday, adding that some of his recent remarks about the matter had been misinterpreted.
"I said that if we reach an agreement on all final status issues, we could continue to discuss the details," he said.
At a dinner with journalists on Wednesday, Erakat had raised the possibility of talks being prolonged for up to a year if parties agree on key issues by the time the current talks wrap up on April 29.
The US State Department welcomed his statement, while saying the nine-month schedule still remained in place.
At an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Saturday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "stressed his rejection of all partial and temporary solutions and that the solution should resolve all final status issues, within nine months which cannot be extended, expiring April 29," said Erakat.
During this meeting, the pan-Arab bloc gave "its full support to the Palestinian position," the PA negotiator told the radio station on the phone from Qatar.
On Thursday, outgoing PA negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the talks "are not going to take us anywhere", and called on the international community to intensify pressure on Israel.
The comments come on the same day as revelations that the US team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, is planning a diplomatic offensive against Israel, with the aim of forcing a deal as early as January - well in advance of the nine-month "limit" imposed by Washington.