Top ministers say Israel will reject any Quartet preconditions for direct talks 15Aug10 August 17, 2010

Haaretz -  15 August 2010

Israel will reject any preconditions set forth by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators in regard to scheduled resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a forum of seven senior cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, decided Sunday evening.

The Quartet - the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia – was expected to make an announcement regarding the resumption of direct talks on Monday.

U.S. sources said Sunday that the Quartet would call for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders within a year or two.

A senior government source said Sunday that “the Quartet announcement could serve as camouflage for Palestinian preconditions, and that is unacceptable.”

He added that the U.S. administration will issue another announcement later in the week, defining the terms of the negotiations and serving as a compromise between the Israeli and the Palestinian viewpoints.

Meanwhile Sunday, a senior official in the Obama administration told Haaretz that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would announce the start of direct peace talks in only “a matter of days.”

A number of minor details still need to be clarified with Abbas and Netanyahu that will open the way for direct talks, the official added.

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