Palestinian leader Abbas postpones Israel meeting

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2012 6:52 AM
Palestinian leader Abbas postpones Israel meeting

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has postponed a meeting with Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz that was due to take place on Sunday, Palestinian officials said on Saturday.

The officials did not say when a new date might be set for what would be the highest-level meeting between the sides since peace talks broke down in 2010.

"We know that Mofaz will bring nothing new," said Wasl Abu Yosef, a member of Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organization, who told reporters of the postponement.

Israeli officials, who never confirmed or denied the meeting would happen, did not comment.

The meeting was supposed to take place in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Former Palestinian minister Hassan Asfour said the postponement may have been prompted by a protest among Palestinian youths who did not like the idea of Mofaz, a former Israeli defense chief, being a guest at Abbas' headquarters.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in late 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in the West Bank, and Palestinians have demanded a halt to construction before talks resume.

Israel says the settlements issue should be resolved in negotiations and rejects any pre-conditions for talks. (Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Pravin Char)