Abbas says exploratory peace talks have ended


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators leading to full peace talks have ended with no progress, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.

Abbas, following a fifth meeting between the sides, met Wednesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah before announcing that the exploratory talks were concluded.

He said he would discuss Feb. 4 with the Arab League whether or not to hold additional talks.

The Palestinians had said that they would not meet past Thursday, the date of a deadline set months ago by the Mideast Quartet of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations for the resumption of direct peace talks, without more concessions from Israel.

Direct peace talks stopped in late 2010 after Israel refused to extend a 10-month freeze on building in the settlements.

Abbas said that the Palestinians would be willing to return to negotiations if Israel agrees to demarcate the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians also are demanding an end to building in the settlements.

The Palestinians say they have submitted their proposals on borders and security arrangements, but that Israel has not, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the pan-Arabic Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper based in London reported Wednesday that Abdullah is considering several kinds of diplomatic sanctions in order to prod the Israeli government to make "significant concessions" that would allow the Palestinian leadership to "justify" returning to negotiations, Ynet reported.

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