Obama gives Palestinians assurances on indirect talks
American President Barack Obama assured the Palestinian Authority that his administration is committed to a two-state solution and that a future Palestinian state will be independent and have territorial continuity, PA secretary general Tayeb Abdel Rahim was quoted as saying on Sunday. Rahim said Obama conveyed his message in a letter delivered by U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell while he visited the region last week.
According to the Palestinian official, Obama also reportedly has promised the Palestinians a prolonged Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Al-Hayat newspaper reported. According to the report, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told the Arab League ministers Saturday night that Obama made his promise off the record in order to avoid conflict with right-wing factions in Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel's prime minister on Sunday welcomed the Arab nations' endorsement of indirect, U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians. Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the israeli leader still awaited a formal Palestinian statement on the resumption of peace talks, but renewed his willingness to restart them "at any time and at any place" while insisting they begin "without preconditions."