Ehud Barack: ‘Death of negotiations only benefits Hamas’

November 1st, 2009 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem/Ramallah, Oct 31 (DPA) Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called Saturday on the US and Palestinians to “make an effort to start negotiations” and added that an impasse in the dialogue would only benefit Hamas.
Ahead of the arrival of US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barak said that a “a dead end in the diplomatic process will only serve Hamas and the other extremist elements in the region.”

“It’s essential that all the sides make an effort to start negotiations; this is a unique opportunity,” he added in the statement after knowing that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to start peace negotiations today in a meeting with Clinton in Abu Dhabi.

Abbas rejected a proposal by Clinton to resume talks on final status issues pending a deal reached between the US and Israel over the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian chief negotiatior Saeb Erekat said in a statement released after Abbas and Clinton met in Abu Dhabi.

“Halting settlement activities, including what Israel terms as the natural growth into settlements is essential to restarting any peace negotiations,” Erekat said.

The Abbas-Clinton meeting came a day after he and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell discussed the resumption of peace talks.

Mitchell and Erekat joined the Abu Dhabi meeting, along with senior Palestinian officials Nabil Abu Rdeineh and Yasser Abed Rabbo.

Clinton and Mitchell are due to travel to Israel later Saturday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their visit to the region - one of several for Mitchell and Clinton’s second since taking office, aims at resuming the peace process which has been stalled since December.

“The talks were in depth and discussed all the issues related to freezing settlement,” the Palestinian Presidency spokesman Abu Rdeineh told the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.

“No breakthrough has been achieved during the talks between President Abbas and Clinton due to the intransigence of the Israeli position,” he said, adding “freezing settlement is the only solution to resume the talks.”

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