Egypt's Gheit meets Abbas in bid to relaunch Mideast peace talks

Arab World Materials 28 October 2010 19:07 (UTC +04:00)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met Thursday in Ramallah with President Mahmoud Abbas, in an attempt to persuade the Palestinian leader to resume peace negotiations with Israel, DPA reported.

Egyptian security chief Omar Suleiman also took part in the meeting, which come three days after Israeli National Security Advisor Uzi Arad held talks in Cairo with the Egyptian intelligence supremo.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed at the beginning of September, but fell into limbo at the end of that month, when Israel did not renew a partial 10-month freeze on construction in its West Bank settlements.

Abbas has said there will be no further negotiations until and unless Israel renews the construction moratorium.

Israel Radio cited unnamed sources as saying that Gheit and Suleiman will attempt to convince Abbas to renew the talks in exchange for a partial freeze that will not apply to the so-called "settlement blocs" - settlement groups close to the Israel-West Bank border that Israel hopes to keep as part of any future peace deal.

The proposal, the broadcaster said, is part of a United States initiative whereby in exchange for renewed talks, President Obama would pressure Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians within one year.