Abbas says not ready for direct talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that despite heavy international pressure from the "entire world," he is still not ready to start direct negotiations with Israel. Abbas told the Voice of Palestine radio that talks would be doomed without a clear framework.
According to the AP, Abbas aides said he has received phone calls in recent days from the leaders of Germany, Britain and Italy, among others, urging him to go to direct talks. "The entire world is asking us to go for direct negotiations, but going to negotiations without a clear reference might make them collapse from the first moment," Abbas told the radio from Uganda, where he was visiting.
"We are not against meetings, whether in Ramallah or Tel Aviv," Abbas added. "The issue is to set the ... reference for negotiations. After that, we are ready to go anywhere."
Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians would ask the Arab world to recommend continuing with indirect talks until they are slated to end Sept. 8,