Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mitchell to Abbas: No more excuses, renew Mideast talks

(Haaretz).Obama's envoy frustrated with Palestinian president's refusal to return to talks but rules out U.S. guarantees.

United States special Mideast envoy George Mitchell has urged Europe to step up pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to kick-start stalled peace talks with Israel, the London-based A-Sharq-al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

"The time has come to stop finding excuses for avoiding a return to the negotiating table," the London paper quoted Mitchell as saying, citing French officials.

Mitchell believed the Palestinians were showing little enthusiasm for talks because as inaction was safer than reentering dialogue when the outcome was so uncertain, the paper said.

President Barack Obama's envoy is said to blame Abbas for frustrating his most recent attempt to coax the two sides into renewed discussions during a trip to the region in January.