Palestinians ‘exerting every possible effort’ to restart talks

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — PLO negotiator, Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that American efforts to restart negotiations could not afford to fail, as the US secretary of state reportedly extended a deadline for resuming talks.

In Ramallah, the head of the Palestinian civil affairs department said Kerry had asked President Mahmoud Abbas for extra time as he aims to find a way to restart some form of direct negotiations.

Hussein al-Sheikh said Kerry suggested a target date of June 20 to try to continue diplomatic efforts to bring both sides back to the negotiating table.

“Make no mistake, we are exerting every possible effort for John Kerry’s peace plan to succeed,” Erekat said a day after the US secretary of state warned that time was running out to restart long-stalled talks.

“No one benefits more from the success of Kerry’s peace efforts, and no one suffers more from the failure, than the Palestinians,” the PLO official told reporters in the West Bank.

“Halting settlement activities is an obligation, not a condition. We want two states on 1967 borders. The US position has always been two states on those borders with minor modifications,” he added.

Kerry has not presented anything official, but the Palestinians have done everything he asked of them, Erekat said, adding that Israel’s response to US peace efforts was to issue tenders for more illegal settlements and demolish Palestinian homes.

The secretary of state has made an enormous investment in peace talks, and the Palestinians want him to succeed in bringing both sides to the negotiating table, Erekat said. However, twenty years after extensive talks in Oslo, and Cairo, and Amman, Erekat pointed out that there is no Israeli leader that can utter the words, “We want two states on 1967 borders”.

Source: Ma’an News