Palestine: peace talks 'futile' so far
Middle East peace negotiations were proving "futile" so far, a Palestinian official said Wednesday as he urged the US to take a more decisive role in the talks.
"Until now there has been no progress," Palestine Liberation Organisation's Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio, following several weeks of meetings between senior Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, according to Agence France Presse.
"Despite our decision to take part in talks, we're now seeing what we expected - that there is little hope for their progress, in fact that hope is non-existent and negotiations are futile," he said, AFP reported.
Abed Rabbo's comments resonated with those made earlier this week by another senior Palestinian official who reported that the peace talks had made "no breakthroughs," according to AFP.
"Saving this political process not only (requires) promises of more US meetings with the sides, but also a clear US stance and pressure on Israel," Abed Rabbo warned.
Palestinian officials have complained that the US has had no direct involvement in the talks, despite them being revived following intense diplomatic efforts in the region by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Ahead of the first meeting between the two sides in Jerusalem on August 14, Israel announced its decision to go ahead with the building of more than 2,000 Jewish settler houses on Palestinian territory, a move than angered the Palestinian side and threatened the talks.
The last direct peace talks between the sides broke down in September 2010 after Israel refused to halt any settlement activity.
"Israel hasn't committed to halting settlement building. We've seen the continuation of settlement building, which is destroying any chance for this political process," Abed Rabbo told AFP.
"Either this occupation and all settlement building ceases, or the process is doomed to failure and collapse."
The US has imposed a media blackout on the talks, resulting in no official announcements being made over the time and date of the negotiations.
"The fundamental issue is that until now there are no indications these talks have achieved any progress whatsoever."