JERUSALEM, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A Palestinian spokesman said direct peace talks won't resume until Israel halts construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh said President Mahmoud Abbas's hesitancy to return to direct peace talks was not based on negotiations, but rather his commitment to guidelines set by the Arab League, the Maan news agency reported.
Last week in Cairo, the Arab league gave Abbas the green light to enter direct talks with Israel when he deems the time is right.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he is ready to engage in direct talks with the Palestinians immediately, and without any preconditions.
In numerous interviews in the Arab media, Abbas has said that only after the Palestinian Authority receives guarantees from Israel of a construction freeze on settlements, and agrees the borders of the future Palestinian state will be based on lines set in June 1967 will he engage in direct talks.
Rudeineh told the news agency the Palestinians have yet to receive a response to a letter sent by the Arab League to U.S. President Barack Obama, asking that a time frame be established for negotiations.
Direct negotiations with Israel will not resume until the Palestinians receive all the necessary assurances, Rudeineh said.
The Jerusalem Post said Saudi Arabia is urging Abbas to enter direct talks with Israel by offering financial assistance. The newspaper said this was the reason for a meeting between Abbas and Saudi King Abdallah in Riyadh Wednesday.