Israel expects failure of proximity talks
Israel on Wednesday said that indirect talks with the Palestinians were doomed to fail as an American envoy was to meet with the Israeli premier to promote the so-called proximity talks. "This won't work ... indirect talks, proximity talks will not yield results," Intelligence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told the Jerusalem Post. "Everyone will want to pull America to their own side, and they won't get closer, they will get further apart," he said.
"I think we need to go quickly to direct talks," he conveyed.
His remarks came hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who has been shuttling to the region for months. There was widespread speculation the proximity talks could begin within days of Mr Mitchell's planned meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday.
Abbas held talks in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday ahead of the talks with Israel. The Palestinian leader met intelligence chief Prince Miqrin bin Abdul Aziz and was scheduled to hold talks with King Abdullah, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
"The visit comes as a part of diplomatic coordination ahead of the so-called proximity talks," a Palestinian diplomat told AFP. After meeting Abdullah, Abbas will head to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.