Syria-based Palestinian groups reject any talks with Israel

DAMASCUS- Hamas and 10 other radical Palestinian groups based in Syria on Sunday rejected any move by the Palestinian Authority to resume US-brokered direct peace talks with Israel.
The 11 groups declared their position in a statement released just hours before Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas was due to meet US officials to discuss the renewal of direct talks with Israel, frozen since December 2008.

"The Palestinian resistance movements affirm their rejection of direct, or indirect, negotiations and warn against the dangerous consequences of policies aiming at selling cheaply Palestinian national rights," they said.
"A return to direct negotiations represents submission to American and Zionist conditions aimed at liquidating these rights," the statement added.
It was signed by Hamas, whose political leadership lives in exile in Syria, as well 10 other groups including the radical Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
The left-wing Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine factions also signed the statement.
Abbas was later on Sunday to meet David Hale, the assistant US Middle East envoy, at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah in the evening to discuss a draft copy of an international call to resume direct peace talks.
The Middle East peace Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States -- is expected to issue a statement in the coming days formally inviting Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks.
The international community has been putting increasing pressure on the Palestinians to move from US-brokered indirect talks to direct negotiations.
But Abbas has insisted he will not upgrade to direct negotiations without a complete freeze on Jewish settlements, clear guidelines on final borders and a timeline for reaching an agreement.
The last round of direct talks collapsed in December 2008 when Israel launched a blistering offensive on the Gaza Strip aimed at halting rocket attacks.

Sunday, August 15th 2010

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