Palestinians: Peace talks end with no progress

January 26, 2012

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Israeli-Palestinian talks aimed at reviving peace negotiations ended in Jordan on Wednesday without achieving any progress and Palestinian AuthorityPresident Mahmoud Abbas plans to consult fellow Arabs on his next move, Palestinian officials said.

The options being considered by the Palestinians include pushing ahead with United Nations membership and reconciliation with Hamas – moves opposed by Israel.

“The Israelis brought nothing new in these meetings,” said one Palestinian official familiar with the talks. “We are now going to assess our options and will consult our brothers in the Arab League on February 4.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that there will be no meetings between the parties in Amman next week in order to evaluate the results of the talks, Israel Radio reported. He reportedly confirmed that there are gaps between the sides but said talks were conducted honestly and seriously. Judeh added that negotiation is the best way to achieve a Palestinian state and warned that stagnation has a negative effect.

The talks came as part of a proposal by the Quartet of Middle East mediators – the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations – which set a three-month deadline last October for the two sides to make proposals on issues of territory and security.

The aim is to reach a peace deal by the end of this year.

The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, ison a regional visit to nudge Israelis and Palestinians to maintain the talks begun this month.

She has been seeking Israeli confidence-building measures for Palestinians, including freeing some prisoners and more freedom in areas of the West Bank held by Israel.

Israelis and Palestinians held five sessions of talks, in which the Israelis offered a document comprising 21 points that Abbas had dismissed as worthless.

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