Palestinians want ”proximity talks” to concentrate on borders
Palestinians are weighing indirect peace talks with Israel to be mediated by the United States, the PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on Monday, stressing that they should concentrate on border issues.
According to Reuters, Malki added the PA needed more information from Washington, along with support from Arab states, before making a commitment to the American "proximity talks" proposal. "This proximity talks should focus on one issue only. That issue is borders," Malki stated, adding that this is because issues of water, security and concerns on Jerusalem would all be covered by such discussions.
The Palestinian minister conveyed that the timeframe for the proximity talks should be limited to a maximum of three to four months. He noted he needed to hear more about what the Obama administration has in mind for terms of reference for the proximity talks. "And we need to know what if these talks fail -- what will be the position of Americans and what will they do?" Malki added.
If answers from the American Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, to those questions were acceptable, Palestinians would discuss the idea with Arab leaders and, if they supported it, the Palestinian response to the offer would be positive, he said. But Malki added: "We cannot really say in advance we are committed without really getting assurances that this process will be meaningful and lead to something tangible."
According to him, he saw no difference so far between the proposed proximity talks and the shuttle diplomacy employed by Mitchell.