RAMALLAH: The United States will sponsor a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Jerusalem on Sunday in a bid to rescue the stalled peace talks, a senior Palestinian official said Saturday.
Chief negotiators of the two sides, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, held a meeting on Friday in which they decided to meet on Sunday in Jerusalem, trying to extend the peace talks scheduled to end at the end of this month, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
U.S. peace envoy Marten Indyk sponsored these meetings between the two sides who still disagreed on extending their peace talks until the end of the year and on the release of the last batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners.
“The Palestinian side insists that Israel should be committed to releasing the last batch of 26 Palestinian prisoners, who were due to be released in March 29, before talking about any extension of the talks,” said the official.
Meanwhile, Israel insisted that the Palestinians should halt applications to 15 international treaties.
Israel agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners in order to resume the peace talks in July last year. So far 78 prisoners were released in three groups, and the last group of 26 prisoners were scheduled to be freed on March 29.
However, the release was delayed over the hawkish right wing’s objection to release Israeli Arabs in the group.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to join 15 international conventions and treaties.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Jerusalem this week, trying to salvage the talks by offering to set free an Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who spent nearly 30 years in jail over espionage charges. (PNA)