Kerry, Abbas discuss peace talks by phone

2013-05-09 19:05:05 GMT2013-05-10 03:05:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

RAMALLAH/GAZA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry contacted Thursday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by phone to discuss means of reviving the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, officials told Xinhua.

Kerry told Abbas that he will visit Israel and the West Bank on May 21 to follow up his ongoing efforts to resume the direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which have halted since 2010, a well-placed source said on condition of anonymity.

Kerry also briefed Abbas on his recent visit to Italy, where he held talks last week with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is reportedly responsible for the peace talks in the Jewish state, the source added, declining to provide further information.

The Palestinian official also declined to comment on Israeli media reports about a U.S.-brokered peace plan.

Israeli Television Channel II unveiled Wednesday that Kerry will present a plan based on the principle of establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with slight land-swap with certain security arrangements to the two sides.

Mohamed Ishteyah, a senior Palestinian negotiator, told Xinhua that the Palestinian leadership is expecting to "officially receive the written ideas and proposals from Kerry and to make a response."

Last week, Abbas said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that the U.S. administration is trying to set a stage to resume the peace talks based on Israel's recognition of the principle of a two-state solution with slight exchange of lands.

"If Israel accepts these principles, we will resume the direct peace talks," Abbas said.

In the meantime, Egypt's top Muslims cleric Yousef al-Qaradawi leading a group of Arab and Islamic clerics arrived in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to show support to the Palestinian people.

Addressing Gaza Islamic University Thursday, Qaradawi, a leading figure of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group, however, slammed the Palestinian talks with the United States to resume the direct peace negotiations with Israel.

"It is not allowed to make concessions on any part of the Palestinian territories. We will never accept our rights to be taken and we will keep struggling to get these stolen rights back, " he said.

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