US envoy Mitchell meets Netanyahu to launch proximity negotiations.
Even as US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to launch proximity peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that should the negotiations fail to focus on key issues, they could collapse within a few months.
"Negotiations will focus on final status issues and there's no need to enter into details and small matters because we have had enough of that in the previous negotiations," Abbas said after talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Jordanian capital.
Abbas gave the talks four months to make progress. After that, he said, he would seek Arab League advice on the next steps.
"We said the indirect negotiations will last only four months," Abbas said. "After that, we will go to the Arab League to consult on whether to continue or what to do."
Abbas said crucial issues to be discussed in the indirect talks with Israel must include the final borders of a future Palestinian state.
Speaking to CNN earlier Wednesday, Abbas called the Netanyahu government "extreme and uncooperative." The PA president added that "since they are an elected government, we have no choice but to work with them," but warned that he would halt negotiations should building in the West Bank continue.
The comments came as Abbas convened Fatah's Central Committee, which is expected to give Abbas permission to enter into proximity talks.
Also speaking Wednesday morning, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau told Army Radio that the Palestinian side was already planning for the breakdown of the proximity talks.
"The Israeli government must make no more overtures to the Palestinians, they only embolden the other side and reduce the chances of reaching an agreement," he said.
Landau stressed that the Israeli people must decide the fate of Jerusalem among themselves, and once they have resolved it, should not be open to having discussions about it with other states.
“We do not discuss London with the British or Paris with the French, and neither should we discuss Jerusalem with them,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee heard Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division, also give a very bleak assessment of the Palestinian Authority's intentions, saying they were “already preparing the ground for the failure” of the proximity talks.
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