Abbas looks for ‘Arab cover’ to confront failure of talks with Israel
RAMALLAH - The Palestinians will ask the Arab League to call for the convening of an "international peace conference" during talks in Cairo, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
Azzam al-Ahmad, who is in Cairo with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for talks with the Arab League representatives, said the delegation would seek backing for the conference, without giving further details.
"One of the proposals we will request from the Arab Follow-Up Committee is for a call to convene an international peace conference on the Palestinian issue," Ahmad said by phone from Cairo.
He said the Palestinian delegation was hopeful "that the final statement of the Follow-Up Committee would include a call for an international conference on the Palestinian issue."
Abbas is in Cairo to hold talks with the committee, which tracks efforts to advance peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, after five rounds of "exploratory" talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
The discussions, intended to chart a way back to direct negotiations, ended without a deal to continue talks.
Sponsored by the peacemaking Quartet and held in Jordan, the discussions came in the framework of a Quartet bid to kickstart talks.
But the Palestinians say Israel failed to present its parameters for territory and security, as requested by the Quartet, and that they will not hold direct talks without a freeze of Israeli settlement activity.
They also want discussions on borders to be based on the lines that preceded the 1967 Six Day War.
Ahmad said Abbas would present a "detailed report on the communications and efforts that have been made in this latest period... with particular regard to the exploratory meetings in Amman."
Israel has urged the Palestinians to begin direct negotiations without preconditions.
The Quartet, which comprises the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia, has also said it wants to see talks resume, but officials -- including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon -- have called on Israel to provide the Palestinians with goodwill gestures in a bid to lure them back to talks.