Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Erekat to Asharq Al-Awsat: Agreement with U.S. to Form Joint Committees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat speaks during a press conference in Paris, on July 30, 2016. – AFP

Ramallah- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat said that a Palestinian delegation, which he headed in Washington, discussed bilateral, security and political issues with U.S. officials.

Erekat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the delegation reached an agreement with the U.S. officials on the formation of joint committees and the follow-up of consultations in the future.

During their visit to Washington, Erekat and the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Then U.S. Principal Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart E. Jones joined the talks.

The Palestinian officials also held talks with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Erekat said that the discussions focused on bilateral, regional and security issues. Palestinian civil society and consular affairs were also topics of discussion.

“All issues that concern Palestinians were on the table of discussions. They include future ties with the U.S., settlements, threats to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and other issues,” Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A joint statement by the U.S.-Palestinian Political Dialogue said the two sides discussed the two-state solution, which they described as “the only way to achieve lasting peace that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, and ends the occupation that began in 1967.”

They agreed “on the crucial role of civil society, and the need to create economic and political opportunity for the next generation of Palestinians.”

Both delegations “strongly condemned terrorism and its supporters in the region and worldwide” and “agreed on the threat posed by ISIS.”

They shared “the deep concern that ISIS has dramatically undermined regional stability, particularly in Iraq and Syria,” saying it “continues to commit gross, systematic violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law.”

The U.S.-Palestinian Political Dialogue further added that it was looking forward to continuing its work in 2017 to remain a forum of discussion of Palestinian issues.