Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to resist US pressure to open direct peace talks with Israel, unless he received less "vague" guarantees on the issues of Israeli settlement construction and the borders of a future Palestinian state, DPA reported.
Abbas told the 128 delegates of his Fatah party's Revolutionary Council late Tuesday that he received a verbal message from President Barack Obama.
The US president asked him to enter into direct negotiations, but some clauses in his message were "vague" and "not clear, particularly those which define the occupied territories, that is the West Bank and Gaza Strip," Abbas said.
His speech to the Revolutionary Council was closed to journalists and only published by Fatah's al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper Wednesday.
Proposals about a settlement freeze and the borders of the Palestinian state should be very clear, he said.
"If this happens, it will be possible to go to direct negotiations," Abbas said, but added: "We cannot go to direct negotiations as blind and we will resist that peacefully."
The Palestinian president said he had already laid out his position to Egyptian and Jordanian leaders and would make it position clear to the Arab League when it meets July 29.
"If there was development until then, the situation will change," he said.
Otherwise, he added, he would wait until September, when the current, partial 10-month moratorium on Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank expires - as will the mandate handed to him by the Arab League for holding indirect talks with Israel.
He said the US had asked Israel to carry out confidence-building measures to coincide with the start of the indirect talks, begun in the spring, including a halt to Israeli arrest raids of suspected militants in Palestinian-controlled cities, transferring larger areas of the West Bank to full Palestinian autonomy and releasing prisoners.
"When we agreed to the proximity (indirect) talks, none of this happened," he said, adding, "we agreed to go to the proximity talks to discuss borders and security and we gave the US envoy George Mitchell our thoughts on that. But we have not yet received Israeli responses."
There must be progress in the indirect talks in order to move on to direct negotiations, he said.
Abbas also told his Fatah delegates that he was working on a cabinet reshuffle which he hoped to complete shortly.
Fatah has been demanding for a long time to receive key ministries in Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's cabinet, accusing the independent prime minister of excluding its members from his government.