Palestinian Authority still mulling US ideas on negotiations
The Palestinian Authority (PA) was still studying ideas the US has presented to renew negotiations with Israel, a senior Palestinian official said Monday - denying reports that President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to resume indirect talks under the patronage of US peace envoy George Mitchell, DPA reported.
Speaking on Voice of Palestine Radio, Azzam Ahmad, a leading member of Abbas' Fatah movement, said the president has not yet accepted Mitchell's ideas for indirect talks with Israel.
The contradicts a report in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz on Monday.
The Israeli daily, citing ""senior Palestinian sources," said Abbas had agreed in principle to indirect talks, but intends asking for clarifications before giving his final answer.
Ahmad said Abbas was still discussing these ideas with Arab and world leaders and was waiting to end these consultations before giving his final answer.
Ahmad was speaking from Japan, where Abbas is on an official visit.
The Palestinian leader will later travel to South Korea, then India and Pakistan in an effort to gather international support for his demand that Israel should freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before negotiations with Israel could resume.
Abbas had said several times that he received from Mitchell ideas for resuming talks with Israel and that he was holding consultations with world leaders before giving his final answer.