PA Nixes Direct Talks

PA officials hold “fruitful” meeting with US envoy Mitchell, but say no to US request for direct talks.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 11:52 PM

Mitchell and Abbas
Mitchell and Abbas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Senior Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan announced Saturday that the Palestinian Authority will not hold direct negotiations with Israel at this time. The announcement followed a meeting between PA leaders and United States envoy George Mitchell.

Mitchell termed his meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “constructive” and “fruitful.” He told reporters that the latest round of meetings with Israeli and PA leaders “began to achieve President Obama's vision for comprehensive peace.”

US President Barack Obama spoke to Abbas by phone last week. Senior PA official Saeb Erekat later confirmed that the president urged Abbas to agree to direct talks.

Dahlan said the call for direct talks had been rejected because Mitchell “did not offer President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership any new Israeli responses regarding security and borders.” The PA has demanded that Israel agree to the 1949 armistice line as the basis for determining the border of a PA state before moving to direct negotiations.

Abbas has also insisted that when it comes to security, talks begin at the point where negotiations between the PA and the Olmert administration left off in 2008.