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Erekat says Israel to respond to proposal

Saeb Erekat (UPI Photo/Debbie Hill)
Saeb Erekat (UPI Photo/Debbie Hill) | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority is waiting for Israel's response to a peace proposal submitted more than two months ago, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

In an interview on Israel's Army Radio Sunday morning, Erekat said the proposal submitted is more generous than the proposal shown to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and deals with core issues such as Jerusalem, borders and refugees.

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"We presented the proposal to (U.S. Middle East Envoy) George Mitchell over two months ago so that he would offer it to Netanyahu, however we still haven't received any answers," Erekat told the radio.

He denied reports claiming plans were under way to resume direct talks with Israel at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in September.

In an interview on the Palestinian Maan radio, the Palestinian negotiator said only after Israel agrees to stop all construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem and approves the borders of a future Palestinian state, will talks resume.

Erekat also refuted reports in the Arab media that suggested the U.S. administration had threatened Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with sanctions, if he fails to engage in direct talks with Israel.

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He told Army Radio Abbas had received a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to embark on direct negotiations in order to reach a two state solution as soon as possible.

Palestinian lawmaker Dr. Hanan Ashrawi told Al Quds al Arabi newspaper that Washington had applied tremendous pressure on Abbas to move to direct talks with Israel.

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