PA criticizes Mideast Quartet proposal

Sept. 24, 2011 at 2:06 PM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority criticized a bid to restart Mideast peace talks because it doesn't include an Israeli settlement freeze or a return to 1967 borders.

In a radio interview Saturday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called the Middle East Quartet proposal for resumption of peace talks "lacking" because it doesn't include a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip or an Israeli withdrawal to return to the 1967 Palestinian borders, reported.

The Quartet – – the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia – proposed Friday that Israel and the Palestinians meet within a month to set an agenda for new peace talks.

The Quartet said it wants within three months detailed proposals on security and territory and set a December 2012 timetable for an agreement to end the conflict.

The Jerusalem Post reported Malki said "the only new thing that that the Quartet carries is a time line for discussing the issues of security and borders."

His comments came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally presented to the United Nations the Palestinian bid for statehood. reported Saturday a senior U.S. official said there's no connection between the Palestinian U.N. bid and the timetable for peace negotiations. The official said he believed Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are eager to begin direct negotiations.

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