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Moussa pessimistic about Mideast talks

30 August 2010 0:56

The Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa says he has little hope that the forthcoming direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be successful.

“We are hoping that talks will succeed but we are all very pessimistic about the viability of the peace process because of the past experience,” Moussa told Reuters on Sunday in an interview on the sidelines of a political conference in Slovenia.

The Arab League chief described US President Barack Obama’s sponsorship the only glimmer of hope that talks would prove successful.

“The only reason [for the hope in the success of the talks] is the sincerity of President Obama and his wish to achieve something good in his presidency,” Moussa said.

He said Obama had given the Palestinians assurances that Israel would stop settling new territory during talks that are due to last for one year.

“If we find that during that year Israel continues to build settlements, there is no use in waiting for the full year,” he noted.

“Then we will have to reconsider the situation because you cannot negotiate while the Israelis are settling the territory,” Moussa added.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority will resume direct peace talks in Washington in early September with the aim of reaching a deal within a year to create an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas will meet face-to-face on September 2 with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the first direct talks in 20 months.

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