Itongadol.- Palestinian, Israeli negotiators meet in J\’lem; Abbas says ready to extend talks if Israel freezes settlements, releases prisoners, agrees to negotiate borders.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday expressed his willingness to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "at anytime, in any place."
Israel Radio quoted the PA president as telling a group of Israeli reporters that he was prepared to extend peace talks with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline for negotiations in the event that Israel freezes construction in the settlements for a period of three months.
He said that during this three month period he was prepared to negotiate with Israel on the borders of a future Palestinian state.
In addition, Abbas conditioned the continuation of negotiations on Israel releasing the last batch of Palestinian security prisoners from Israeli jails, a release that was originally supposed to have occurred last month. Abbas said that Israel was obligated to fulfill the release in exchange for the PA having held back on plans to seek recognition in international organizations.
Abbas seemed to be reiterating his reported threat to dissolve the Palestinian Authority in the event that peace talks fail, even as chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted Tuesday as saying that the PA leadership had no intention of dismantling the Ramallah government.
The comments came as Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon in an effort to come up with a package that would extend the negotiations beyond next week\’s deadline.