FM: Abbas, Kerry meeting will focus on the future of the peace process
Published Tuesday 13/05/2014 (updated) 15/05/2014 19:56
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas' meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London on Wednesday will focus on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a senior official said Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told Palestinian radio that Abbas and Kerry would evaluate the latest round of peace talks with Israel and "determine the reasons for their failure."
The meeting "is not an agreement to return to negotiations," al-Maliki said, stressing that the PLO's demands must be met before returning to peace talks with Israel.
A Palestinian official told AFP earlier Tuesday that the two leaders had scheduled a meeting in London on Wednesday.
But Kerry's spokeswoman denied there were any plans for the US top diplomat to hold talks with the Palestinian leader during a scheduled trip to London this week.
"There's no meeting planned," Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that Kerry would be in London on Thursday for discussions on the conflict in Syria.
Kerry's peace efforts derailed even ahead of their April 29 deadline, with Palestinian and Israeli leaders exchanging recriminations and reneging on commitments made during nine months of fruitless meetings.
"The meeting could be the last attempt by Kerry to revive negotiations," the Palestinian official said.
Should the peace talks resume, Kerry believes both sides must work on the future contours of a Palestinian state and security arrangements for Israel alongside other core issues such as refugees and Jerusalem.
Israeli security took precedence throughout much of the last talks, overshadowing the issues of future borders and refugees.
During the talks, Israel also announced thousands of new settler homes in the West Bank, on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
In late March, Israel backtracked on a pledge made at the start of the talks in July 2013 to release a final batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners, prompting Abbas to seek membership of several international treaties, breaking his own commitments.
The PLO, which is dominated by Abbas's Fatah party, then signed a surprise reconciliation agreement with Islamist rivals Hamas on April 23, after which an incensed Israel pulled out of the talks.
AFP contributed to this report.