The chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said in an interview published Tuesday that his decision to quit in a row over backstairs talks in Sweden, announced Monday, was irrevocable.
"My decision to resign is definitive," Abed Rabbo told the London-published daily Al-Hayat.
Abed Rabbo, 54, resigned in protest over the launch of second channel of secret negotiations in Stockholm between Israeli officials and Palestinian legislative council speaker Ahmed Qorei.
But Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had refused to allow his chief negotiator to step down, Arafat's secretary Tayeb Abdel Rahim said on radio late Monday.
Abed Rabbo told Al-Hayat the best solution would be to "make the secret channel the public channel" and put Qorei in charge of the Palestinian negotiating team.
"My stance is not provoked by anger. There must be a single negotiating channel because it is essential that Palestinian negotiators all express the same viewpoint," he added.
Rabbo, appointed chief negotiator in September, described Monday the existence of more than one channel as "an Israeli game, invented by Israel with the support of outside powers to weaken the Palestinian negotiating position."
He told AFP the tactic was adopted after Palestinian negotiators rejected last week an Israeli map that proposed the creation of a divided Palestinian state on some two-thirds of the West Bank and Gaza Strip - (AFP)
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