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Gap still wide with Israel after talks: Palestinians

world Updated: Jan 15, 2012 15:01 IST
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A wide gap remains between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators after three rounds of exploratory talks in Jordan, a Palestinian official close to the talks said on Sunday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a third meeting on Saturday under the auspices of Jordan and the peacemaking Quartet made clear the gulf between the two sides.

"The third meeting held in Amman in the presence of the Jordanian foreign minister didn't produce anything new," the official told AFP.

"There is still a wide gap between us on all positions because the Israeli side has not presented anything new and continues to hinder the resumption of negotiations," he added.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat meet his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Molcho on Saturday evening for a third round of discussions about the possibility of resuming negotiations that have been on hold since late September 2010.

The meetings have been organised under the auspices of Jordan and the international Quartet, comprising the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia, which is trying to kickstart talks.

The Quartet has called on both sides to present comprehensive proposals on borders and security before January 26 with a view to resuming talks shortly afterwards, but so far only the Palestinians have done so.

Israel has called for direct talks to begin immediately and without preconditions, but the Palestinians say they will not talk without a settlement freeze and a clear framework for negotiations.