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Negotiator says Mitchell denied US guarantees
Published Thursday 30/09/2010 (updated) 02/10/2010 08:46
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A member of the PLO negotiating team said Thursday that US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell denied reports in the Israeli media that the US had offered Israel guarantees in exchange for freezing settlements.

Israel's Hebrew language daily Maariv reported Wednesday that US President Barack Obama sent a letter of guarantees to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in bid to save direct peace talks from collapse.

The guarantees were reportedly in exchange for an immediate halt to settlement construction and dealt with issues around Israeli security negotiated between Israel defense minister and head of the Israeli negotiating team during visits to the US.

According to the report, Obama committed the US administration to providing Israel with upgraded weapons if a final solution to the conflict is reached. The US would also veto any attempt by Arab nations to present the Palestinian issue to the UN Security Council for one year, and prevent Palestinian negotiators from setting settlements as the central condition to a peace agreement, the report said.

But PLO negotiator and Fatah leader Nabil Sha'ath said Mitchell denied the report.

"Mitchell's denial came during the meeting with President Abbas, and he affirmed there are no such US guarantees concerning this issue," Sha'ath told the Nazareth-based radio station Shams.

Israel's return to building settlements in the occupied territories has cast the future of peace talks into question following a brief return to negotiations following a 20-month hiatus sparked by Israel's assault on Gaza in December 2008.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was scheduled to meet with Mitchell shortly after her arrival to the region on Thursday and speak with Abbas the day after. Informed sources told Ma'an that Abbas would sit with Mitchell for a second set of discussions Friday.

Palestinian leaders have made clear in public that they will not compromise on demands, made even before talks began on 2 September, that continued settlement construction on lands intended for a Palestinian state under a two-state solution would not be acceptable.

While Netanyahu said he hoped talks would continue, he has not agreed to halt construction despite reports that the US offered the package of incentives to get the peace process back on track. Netanyahu met with Mitchell on Wednesday.

Abbas said he would discuss continuing talks at an Arab League meeting next week.
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1 ) Haim / USA
30/09/2010 19:55
which Israeli media are you referring too, cnn, fox, abc, cbs, newswwek, new york times, or are you referring to the ones actually in Israel?

End the Israeli occupation of America. Wake up Americans.

2 ) Plain / Truth
30/09/2010 20:41
Either this story is wrong, orit proves that Maan News
does NOT check the facts before publishing them!!


3 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
30/09/2010 21:01
Rumors get started and leaked to try and influence stuff all the time. Mitchell has denied the rumor. And now so has the White House. It may be that some adviser or friend of a friend of some adviser made a suggestion that Obama send a letter making some guarantees. And then the friend of the friend of the adviser leaked a story to the press to try and make the wishful thinking true. That, unfortunately is how Washington works.

4 ) KAGH / usa
30/09/2010 21:10
If the PLO/PA really wants to "destroy" Israel as we're so often told the best thing they can do is stay in the talks and make a deal cause Netanyoo does not have the power to deliver on any deal he makes nor is he able to remove the settlers, it would likely cause a civil war

5 ) southparkbear / usa
30/09/2010 22:09
pst, a negotiation is a situation where both parties states their positions and their view as to how to progress. Baleztinians are trying to kill the jewish state as a pre-condition to negotiation in which they would like to be getting all that left for free. It does not work like that. Stop waste everybody's time. Come when you are ready, say 50 years from now

6 ) John / NZ
01/10/2010 00:55
5) Israelis are trying to kill the Palestinian state before it happens with their precondition of continuing building on Pal land, showing they want all that is left for free. It does not work like that. Stop wasting everybody's time. Come when you are ready to pay the peace price and go back to what you were 50 years ago.

7 ) Jerrold Cohen / USA
01/10/2010 06:07
Haim / USA, the article makes it clear that the Israeli paper referred to is Ma'ariv.

8 ) abdel Rahman / usa
01/10/2010 14:32
John / nz this is a very good respond. I like it. Southparkbear thinks that he is smart. But na, he is..... forget it.
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