PA rules out extending talks with Israel
Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat has ruled out the possibility of extending the so-called US-sponsored peace talks with the Israeli regime beyond their nine-month timeframe.
Noting that some of his recent remarks about the talks had been misinterpreted, Erekat said the Palestinian Authority would “turn down any extension” of the talks.
“I said that if we reach an agreement on all final status issues, we could continue to discuss the details,” he added.
On Wednesday, Erekat was quoted as saying that the talks may need to be extended if Palestinian and Israeli negotiators agree on key issues by the time the current round of talks wraps up in April.
“We are not talking about a peace treaty on the 29th of April, we are talking about a framework agreement,” he said, adding, “To reach a comprehensive treaty, on all core issues…you need six to 12 months in the best case.”
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators began a fresh round of talks in July. Previous talks between Palestinians and Israel broke down in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip and are demanding Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds. Even days before the start of the talks, Israel announced plans for more than 2,000 new settler units in East al-Quds and the West Bank, which angered Palestinians.