Israelis, Palestinians to Resume Meetings in Jordan Saturday

Washington, Jan. 13 - Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are scheduled to meet in Jordan tomorrow (Jan. 14) to continue discussions aimed at revitalizing the peace process. However, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to pull out of the talks if Israel doesn’t meet certain conditions.

The upcoming meeting marks the third time the two sides have met this month in advance of a Jan. 26 deadline set by the Quartet, which comprises the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. By that date, the Quartet has mandated that the Palestinians and Israelis outline their positions on the borders of a future Palestinian state and security for both sides.

Abbas, who 15 months ago walked out of talks between the two sides over the issue of Israeli housing construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank, said at the outset of the meetings that Israel must acceptborders based on pre-1967 lines and stop all construction.

“If Israel does not accept the Palestinian demands, we will take other measures which we can’t detail,” Abbas said. “These measures could be hard.”

Abbas, who has said he is disappointed over the talks, already has announced plans to travel to the UK, Germany and Russia to discuss the negotiations with the heads of state there and possibly attempt to drum up renewed support to unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state without a negotiated settlement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman predicted such a scenario earlier this week and said the Palestinians are using the Jordan-based talks to “prepare excuses and transfer the responsibility for the talks’ failure to Israel.”

Jordan’s King Abudullah II is scheduled to travel to Washington next week to meet with President Obama to evaluate developments between the two sides.

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