Military

Iran Press TV

Kerry holds surprise talks with Mahmoud Abbas in Saudi capital

Iran Press TV

Mon Mar 4, 2013 2:50PM GMT

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has held a surprise meeting with Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.

Kerry, on his first trip to the region since taking over as the top US diplomat, had lunch with Abbas on Monday, Abbas had unexpectedly arrived in Riyadh a day before.

Abbas will present “the Palestinian point of view to the new US administration” ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to the region in March, when he plans to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah, according to the Palestinian envoy in Riyadh Jamal al-Shawbaki, who spoke before the meeting took place.

The Palestinian Authority chief will also "highlight Israeli violations in Jerusalem, settlements, and the issue of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike," Shawbaki added.

Direct talks between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority were stalled around three weeks after they had resumed in the US in September 2010 due to Tel Aviv's refusal to extend a partial freeze on its illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel’s expansion of its settlements in the West Bank, military strikes on the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and assassination of resistance leaders are the main factors fueling Palestinians' distrust in negotiations with Tel Aviv.

Adding insult to injury, Tel Aviv's education authorities have recently omitted boundaries separating Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from Israeli textbooks.

Experts have warned that the move indicates Israel's disregard for the Palestinians' right to a homeland and another measure to naturalize the occupation of Palestinian territories.

PG/MA



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