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Obama, Clinton, Abbas, Comparing Notes on Eve of Quartet Meet

Secretary of State Clinton meets with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, under the watchful eyes of his late predecessor.

Secretary of State Clinton meets with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, under the watchful eyes of his late predecessor.
Photo Credit: Fadi Arouri/POOL/ Flash90

Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina has told AFP that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton phoned President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting of the international Quartet scheduled for next month.

Clinton’s call to Abbas was to follow up on discussions between Abbas and Obama a day earlier, the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Clinton said a group of US officials are slated to arrive at the region soon. Abbas told Obama on Monday that he would return to negotiations if Israel committed to the demands of the Quartet (e.g. settlement freeze).

Obama’s call to Abbas was their first conversation since their meeting in New York when the US vetoed Abbas’ bid for Palestinian statehood at the UN. This time around, Obama wished to reassure the PA President that the US was committed to Middle East peace, a PLO official told Wafa.

Saeb Erekat told the PA’s official radio station that Abbas told Obama the Palestinians would return to talks if Israel submitted its proposal on borders and security,

After talks ended in January without agreement, Abbas is preparing to send a letter to Israel and the international community outlining the basis for a Palestinian state and reiterating demands that Israel stop settlement building.

Erekat said Abbas briefed Obama on the letter, which will outline his position that Israel is responsible for the failure of the peace process.

Ha’aretz reported on Tuesday that Obama urged Abbas not to include a threat to dismantle the Palestinian Authority in his communiqué.

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports that Abbas also discussed the deal reached with Hamas in Doha last month to establish an interim government to oversee new elections. The agreement has since stalled amid criticism from Hamas’ Gaza-based leadership.

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