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Nothing new in Amman talks: Palestinian official
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Jan 10, 2012

Informal talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman aimed at finding a way back to the negotiating table produced no tangible progress, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah the day after negotiators from both sides met in the Jordanian capital, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official, said the talks had not produced any new developments.

"Nothing new has come out of this," said Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's executive committee.

"The Israelis continue to hold on to their intransigent position. They have not answered the Quartet request to present their position on borders and security."

It was the second such Israeli-Palestinian meeting in just over a week.

On January 3, negotiators from both camps held their first face-to-face meeting in more than 15 months, in an encounter arranged by Jordan and attended by officials from the Quartet of diplomatic peacemakers for the Middle East.

The aim is to find a way to kickstart direct peace talks that ground to a halt shortly after their launch in September 2010 and to get the sides talking informally before the expiry of a Quartet deadline on January 26 -- by which time the parties are to have presented proposals on borders and security.

"After the 26th, we have different options," Ashrawi said in reference to Palestinian plans to continue their campaign for state membership at the United Nations and also to seek a UN Security Council condemnation of Israel's ongoing settlement activity.

"These are not negotiations," she said of the "exploratory meetings" in Jordan.

She reiterated the Palestinian line that there would be no return to talks without an end to Israel's settlement building or an Israeli recognition of the 1967 lines as the basis on which to negotiate.

Neither sides has shown much appetite for the Amman talks, and there was very little coverage in the Israeli or Palestinian press, suggesting a media blackout on any developments.

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Commentary: Threats to watch in 2012
Washington (UPI) Jan 5, 2012
On Dec. 18, 2010, a police slap of a vegetable-cum-fruit peddler in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid triggered an "Arab Spring" that no one had forecast and that quickly spawned a long, dark Arab winter. Before the end of January 2011, violent unrest had spread to Egypt. By Feb. 11, after 18 days of riots, the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak ended. Less than a week later, Libya ex ... read more

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