Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO’s Negotiations Department, has ruled out the possibility that Egypt held contacts with international and regional parties for holding an international peace conference.
Erekat told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Egyptian leadership did not propose this idea in the continuing talks between the Egyptian and Palestinian parties.”
The chief Palestinian negotiator said that he held important talks in Cairo with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, Egyptian minister of foreign affairs Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt, and Amr Musa, Arab League secretary general. The talks focused on ways of pressuring Israel to halt settlement construction as prelude to the resumption of the direct negotiation, and of employing the available options if Israel persists in its intransigent stand.
Erekat said: “We held in-depth studies to put forward alternatives, which were carefully articulated, and which are all based on international law. We consulted over these alternatives with the Egyptian officials, and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin) put forward these alternatives to the Arab leaders at the recent extraordinary Arab summit in Surte.” He added: “We will act upon these political options if the United States fails to persuade Israel within a month to stop settlement construction. These options include, among others, to have recourse to the UN Security Council.”
Erekat added: “We have several options, including a return to direct negotiations. The second option is to call on the United States to recognize the existence of a Palestinian state within the 1967 border, which is a legal request. The third option is to go to the UN Security Council to request full membership of the state of Palestine in the United Nations. If the United States or any other state objects to this request, we will resort to the UN General Assembly. The fourth option is to request the UN secretary general to hold a summit under Uniting for Peace resolution which the UN General Assembly adopted in 1950 because of a lack of consensus at the UN Security council among the permanent member states.
Erekat pointed out that the Arab Follow-up Committee for peace will hold a meeting shortly to follow up this dossier. He noted that at the Arab summit in Surte, the Arab countries held the Israeli government responsible for the halt to the direct negotiations, which US President Barack Obama launched in Washington on 2 September, because of Israel’s persistence in pursuing the policy of settlement construction.