US to Push for Renewed PA-Israeli Talks

The United States says it will continue to consult with members of the Middle East Quartet "in the next couple of days" to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The talks will focus on a formula laid out by Acting Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas to revive the installed negotiations, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.

Crowley said no decision had been made on the proposal and that US officials will continue consultations with the Quartet members "and other parties in the region," according to the State Department’s website.

He emphasized that efforts would "press forward" despite the failure of the latest attempt by Mideast envoy George Mitchells to renew the so-called peace talks.

The PA has so far refused to buckle under intense US pressure to resume direct talks with its closest ally Israel, which adamantly refuses to make any concessions to the Palestinian side, notably the freezing of settlement expansions.

The popular Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas has firmly opposed any negotiations with the Tel Aviv regime citing what it calls persisting Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian population with total US backing.

A Tuesday meeting between Mitchell and Abbas did not result in an agreement, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, quoted by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

The Middle East Quartet consists of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

Washington has reportedly threatened that it would only sustain ties with the PA if it restarts the negotiations, stalled for nearly two years.

"I would not characterize … our situation as deadlocked," Crowley claimed, noting that both sides say "they are ready to proceed into direct negotiations."

The PA says it would only join talks of any kind after Tel Aviv ends its expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and accepts a full withdrawal to the borders of 1967, when it occupied the territory. It has also called for the resumption of the negotiations from the point they were left off at the end of 2008.

(Press TV)

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