Middle East peace Quartet envoy Tony Blair (L) and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
Middle East peace Quartet envoy Tony Blair (L) and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas are pictured during a 2011 meeting. The two met in Amman on Saturday to discuss the stalled peace process, Blair's office said. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Middle East peace Quartet envoy Tony Blair (L) and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
AFP
Last updated: February 11, 2012

Blair and Abbas discuss peace talks and Palestinian unity

Middle East peace Quartet envoy Tony Blair met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Amman on Saturday to discuss the stalled peace process, Blair's office said.

A statement said Blair reaffirmed to Abbas the Quartet and international community's "commitment" to the peace process, "and the need to launch credible and serious negotiations in order to reach the two-state solution."

The British former premier also briefed Abbas on his talks with the Israeli government "on a range of issues."

A statement from Abbas's office carried by the official Palestinian news agency said the two discussed "developments in the peace process in light of Israeli intransigence to not halt settlement activity."

Abbas will update the Arab League's follow-up committee on the peace process in Cairo on Sunday.

Last month's five rounds of "exploratory talks" between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, sponsored by the peacemaking Quartet, ended without a deal to continue discussions or return to direct negotiations.

The Palestinians have accused Israel of failing to present proposals on borders and security called for by the Quartet, which groups the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

Palestinian officials repeatedly warned they would not continue talks after January 26 unless Israel froze settlement construction and agreed to base any future talks on the lines which existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.

Blair and Abbas also discussed the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, Blair's bureau said.

The Palestinian leadership on Thursday endorsed the recent accord signed by Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha, placing Abbas at the head of an interim government to supervise the run-up to elections later this year.

Israel has made clear its opposition to the agreement, warning Abbas that he could not reconcile with the Islamist Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip and at the same time hold talks with the Jewish state.

On Saturday, the Hamas prime minister of Gaza Ismail Haniya vowed during a visit to Iran that his movement "will never recognise Israel."

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