Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas calls for progress in proximity peace talks before any direct negotiations with Israel can begin.
Speaking in Ramallah on Saturday, Abbas said that indirect negotiations, which have been under way for two months, have yet not seen any progress. He said he is wary of agreeing to any direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.
"We said that if there is progress we will go to direct talks. If no progress happens, what is the benefit of negotiations that will be futile and useless," he said.
He reiterated that the Palestinians want the proximity talks to make progress on two issues, security arrangements and the borders of the state the Palestinians aim to establish in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Abbas added that Israel must stop the expansion of illegal settlements on occupied lands in the West Bank and East al-Quds and remove the enclaves under a final peace deal.
In early March, Abbas met with the 22-member Arab League, which endorsed four months of US-backed proximity talks that the Obama administration hopes will lead to direct negotiations between the two sides.
The talks are being mediated by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.