PLO to oversee peace talks until new negotiating team formed
Palestinian negotiators will continue in their positions on a temporary basis until a new negotiations team can be formed, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday.
The PLO negotiating team resigned last week in protest against continued Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
Nabil Shaath, a senior member of Fatah's central committee, said Wednesday that "the movement's central committee instructed the Palestinian negotiating teams, consisting of Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Ishteyyah, to oversee the negotiations until a new team is assigned."
He added: "This comes after they insisted on their resignation because of the recent Israeli violations that manifest in the rapid building of settlements."
Shaath denied reports that the current negotiating team would remain in place until the end of a 9-month period of talks, which began in July.
Israel continues to place obstacles in front of the negotiation process and impedes international efforts to reach an agreement, Shaath added.
Palestinians are committed to achieve peace in the agreed upon talks period, but will consider other options once that period ends, he said.
Following mediation by Washington, direct talks resumed in July after a three-year hiatus that was due primarily to Palestinian refusal to talk while settlement expansion continued.
Since then Israel has announced plans to build thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
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