US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) listens as Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 4, 2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) listens as Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 4, 2014 © Brendan Smialowski - AFP/File
US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) listens as Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on January 4, 2014
AFP
Last updated: April 2, 2014

Palestinians hope Kerry will renew peace push in days

The Palestinians want US efforts to salvage the peace process to continue, a senior official said Wednesday, just hours after they renewed controversial moves to seek international recognition.

"We hope (US Secretary of State John) Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told reporters in Ramallah.

"Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish."

Late on Tuesday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he had begun steps to join 15 UN agencies, angering Israel and prompting Kerry to cancel a trip to Ramallah on Wednesday.

The announcement was a blow to Kerry's frenetic efforts to resolve a dispute over Palestinian prisoners and find a way to extend the fragile peace talks beyond a looming April 29 deadline.

Abed Rabbo said the Palestinian move was "a response to Israel's flagrant violation of the agreement" under which it would release prisoners if the Palestinians refrained from seeking further UN recognition.

But Israel says its release of each batch of prisoners was conditional on progress in negotiations, which is not currently evident.

"The government of Israel did not release the prisoners, without any reason or even any excuse for not doing so," Abed Rabbo said.

The senior Palestinian official suggested that they would not be quitting talks before the deadline.

"The Palestinian leadership respects its commitments and wants the political process to continue, but we want a real political process, without tricks," he said.

"We will continue our efforts with the US administration, and will do everything we can to remove all obstacles."

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