World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday his peace negotiators had resigned over the lack of progress in U.S.-brokered statehood talks clouded by Israeli settlement building.
The development would mark a new low point for the talks with Israel that resumed in July and which officials from both sides have said have made little headway.
In an interview with Egyptian CBC television, Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue even if the Palestinian delegation stuck to its decision.
"Either we can convince it to return, and we're trying with them, or we form a new delegation," he said.
It was unclear from Abbas's interview when the Palestinian negotiators had quit, but Abbas said he would need about a week to resume the talks.
In a statement to Reuters TV on Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat did not elaborate on the report of his resignation, but said the sessions with Israel were frozen.
"In reality, the negotiations stopped last week in light of the settlement announcements last week," he said.
Since the talks got underway after a three-year break, Israel has announced plans for several thousand new settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an area now controlled by HamasIslamist opposed to Abbas's peace moves, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They fear Israeli settlements will deny them a viable country.
Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where more than 500,000 Israelis live alongside 2.5 million Palestinians.Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2013, 14:55