Palestine, Israel peace talks to resume Thursday: official

March 9th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by admin  

Ramallah (Palestine), March 9 (Xinhua) Palestinian and Israeli peace negotiators will meet Thursday with a US envoy assigned to follow up both sides’ commitments to the roadmap peace plan, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday. When General William Fraser arrives in the region, a three-way meeting, comprising the US, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), will be held to discuss the implementation of the US-backed peace plan, Erekat said.

The planned roadmap calls on Israel to stop settlement activities in the West Bank and military escalation and withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

The PNA had completed administrative reforms and held parliamentary elections, but so far failed to curb attacks against Israel as part of its obligations under the plan.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas briefly halted the peace talks, which was revived at a US-hosted conference in November, after over 120 Palestinians were killed in a deadly Israeli military operation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket attacks from the enclave.

But Abbas backed down under pressure from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who visited Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt last week. On Saturday, he urged the negotiations to continue.

In a bid to build the atmosphere suitable for peace talks, Egypt backed by the US is making efforts to convince Hamas and the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) organisations to stop firing homemade rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel to avoid Israeli reactions.

Two delegations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad movement will arrive in the Egyptian capital of Cairo next week to resume talks on the Palestinian-Israeli cooling-off, according to Egyptian daily Al Gomhuria.

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