Abbas-Mitchell meeting ends without deal 10Aug10 August 11, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  10 August 2010

The Obama administration’s Middle East envoy left Ramallah on Tuesday without convincing President Mahmoud Abbas to resume direct negotiations with Israel, a top PLO official said.

Saeb Erekat, the chief PLO negotiator, said Sen. George Mitchell’s meeting at the president’s Ramallah residence did not yield results.

The ball is in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s court, and he can renew negotiations by halting settlement construction and accepting a reference for the talks, Erekat said.

“These are not Palestinian conditions; they are signed agreements which the Israeli government must fulfill,” Erekat was quoted as saying by the official PA news agency Wafa.

Mitchell said the meeting was productive.

“It’s the establishment of a Palestinian state, as part of the two-state solution which we believe is the only realistic alternative,” he said.

Mitchell added: “We hope very much that goal which we believe to be in the interest of the Palestinian people, the people of Israel, and all of the people in the region, as well as in the national interest of the United States, we hope that goal will be within reach and we are continuing our efforts despite the difficulties and the obstacles that we have faced in the past and which we know we will face in the future.”

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