Palestinian FM Says ‘Never’ to Direct Talks With Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

A high-ranking Palestinian official has closed the door on the possibility of a return to peace talks with Israel.

In an unprecedented statement, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki declared during a press conference in Japan on Monday, “We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”

Malki is visiting Japan with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who was due to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later Monday.

Earlier in the day, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin called for a resumption of peace talks during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power in Yerushalayim.

However, Malki did not rule out a negotiated agreement with Israel altogether. He voiced support instead for an international conference of the kind suggested recently by France.

Further, he warned that failure to pursue a multinational framework will leave a vacuum that could eventually be filled by Islamic State.

“If the Americans are giving up and the Europeans don’t have the courage to do anything and Arabs are really worried about their own problems, what do you expect? Extremists around might take over.”