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Interview: Erekat says no Mideast peace progress at meeting with Kerry

English.news.cn   2014-02-02 23:11:15

RAMALLAH, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday that no tangible progress was made in the Mideast peace talks he held with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington last week.

Erekat, who is currently abroad, said in a telephone interview with Xinhua that "no specific date was set up for presenting a written draft of Kerry's proposed framework peace agreement that should be signed with Israel."

Last week, Erekat held a series of meetings in Washington with Kerry on how to push forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and on finding a mechanism for reaching a permanent peace agreement.

"So far, Kerry hasn't yet presented anything official and we are still in the circle of consultations and debates of ideas," said Erekat, adding Kerry "didn't set up any date for his upcoming visit to the region to follow up the negotiations."

Before meeting with Erekat, Kerry had also met in Washington with Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni.

The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were re-launched in late July after a three-year halt, were scheduled to last nine months. But so far, both sides declared no progress.

Erekat said that the Palestinian side is waiting for an official U.S. position in writing, noting deep problems with Israel, such as its opposition to the two-state principle, hampers the reaching of an agreement.

"Since the talks started in July, Israel announced around 10, 000 housing units to be built in the settlements, in addition to destroying 219 houses and killing more than 40 Palestinians," said Erekat. "Such practices need an urgent international intervention. "

Recently, Erekat also attended a seminar on the Mideast peace in Munich, Germany with U.S. envoy to the region Martin Indyk and the mediating Quartet's envoy Tony Blair as well as Livni, who had a fierce debate with Erekat.

The Israeli negotiator accused the Palestinians for not having a serious desire for peace, while Erekat charged that Israel practiced racism against the Palestinians that was worse than what had happened in South Africa.

He told Xinhua on the sidelines of the seminar that he held talks with many foreign and Arab officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief.

"My talks with the officials focused on the requisites for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which have to respect the international law, the two-state principle based on pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, and a fair solution to the refugee issue."

Meanwhile, Erekat rejected the notion that the release of the last batch of Palestinian prisoners by Israel as stipulated by an earlier deal depends on whether the Palestinian authority signs the forthcoming U.S.-backed peace framework agreement.

"Israel must be committed to the release of the last group of prisoners," said Erekat. "There are 30 out of the 104 prisoners that has to be released on time," said Erekat. Since the beginning of the talks in July, Israel has released 78 of the 104.

Editor: yan
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