US Envoy Indyk to Chair Crisis Meeting to Save Floundering Talks
Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators will meet jointly Sunday with US envoy Martin Indyk, as attempts continue to salvage the rapidly collapsing peace negotiations, officials close to the talks said.
The first three-way meeting since Wednesday comes as Washington reviews its push for a peace deal after a spiral of tit-for-tat moves by Israel and the PA took hard-won negotiations close to collapse.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday there were "limits" to the time and energy Washington could devote to the process, adding it was time for a "reality check."
The same day Indyk met separately with chief Israeli negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and her Palestinian Authority counterpart, Saeb Erakat.
Kerry, who has engaged in more than a year of intensive shuttle diplomacy, had spoken to both the Israeli and PA leaders Thursday in a bid to bring the two sides back from the brink.
But PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas rejected his appeals to withdraw applications he signed on Tuesday to adhere to 15 international treaties, a PA official said.
And Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ignored appeals to refrain from responding to the breach of the terms of negotiations, asking officials to draw up a range of tough reprisals.
Israel says Abbas's move is a clear breach of promises made by the PA when peace talks were relaunched in July to refrain from making unilateral bids in the UN.
The PA says Israel had already reneged on its own commitments by failing to release a fourth and final batch of Arab prisoners last weekend, and that the treaty move was their response. However, Israeli officials have pointed out that the release of terrorists was always contingent on talks making tangible progress, and PA declarations that they would not extend talks any further than the end of April, after which they would launch a "diplomatic offensive" against Israel, was a key indication that talks had already stalled.
AFP contributed to this report.