Report: Arab leaders recommend 5-month extension for talks with Israel
Published Saturday 21/12/2013 (updated) 22/12/2013 12:14
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Arab leaders are interested in a five-month extension of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Egyptian daily newspaper al-Gomhuria said on Saturday.
Foreign ministers of Arab countries are scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday afternoon to be attended by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Al-Gomhuria quoted Arab leaders as saying that the conveners would like to give the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks five more months.
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority kicked off six months ago after pressure on both sides by the United States. US president Barack Obama set a nine-month time frame before which the two sides were supposed to reach an agreement.
The Egyptian newspaper says there is currently disagreement between Palestinian leaders on whether to go ahead with negotiations or to abandon them.
Opponents of negotiations argue that 14 meetings between Palestinians and Israelis since July have brought no positive results so far. Israel has continued over the past six months to construct more settlement homes and confiscate more Palestinian lands.
Meanwhile, supporters believe that peace talks should be given another chance, especially in light of an expected interim plan to be proposed by the US in January if the two sides fail to reach a full compromise before the end of December.
Palestinian ambassador to the Arab League Muhammad Sbeih said the Arab League has continually supported Palestinian negotiators.
Foreign ministers are being updated on the details of the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and will make their supportive decision accordingly.
Sbeih highlighted that John Kerry proposed five months ago a new vision on how to reactivate negotiations under certain terms. Kerry's proposal and the terms he suggested were presented to the Arab League by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, added Sbeih.