Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
The US special envoy to the Middle East peace process David Hale is scheduled to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah on Saturday, reports said.
The Israel Broadcasting Authority, quoting a State Dept. spokeswoman, reported Saturday that the officials would discuss ways of advancing the stalled peace process.
IBA said Hale already met with PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political adviser, Yitzhak Molcho.
Hale is set to go on a tour of Arab countries next week including Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After the tour, he will return for further talks to try and resume negotiations, the broadcaster reported.
The State Dept. spokeswoman highlighted that Washington was seeking to keep the peace process going by encouraging both the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume face-to-face dialogue following the missive Abbas sent Tuesday to Netanyahu.
The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah expects Netanyahu to respond in a written letter, Fatah official Muhammad Ishtayya told Ma’an earlier. He said Israel tends to negotiate verbally.
“The Israelis have been talking, but without submitting anything written,” he said.
The message in Abbas’ letter to the Israelis, according to Ishtayya, is that the status quo cannot continue and that Netanyahu has an opportunity to use Abbas’ letter to resume negotiations after he halts settlements, accepts clear terms of reference and demonstrates honest intentions.