In a rejection of international efforts to broker new peace talks, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said this week that the Palestinians will “never” return to direct negotiations with Israel.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Japan, Mr Malki said: “We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations”.
He stressed that a multilateral framework to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was needed and he praised an initiative discussed late last month by France to revive plans for an international conference to end the conflict.
Mr Malki’s comments have come despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated calls last year for a renewal of peace negotiations. During an address to the United Nations in October 2015, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to restarting peace talks: “I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever”.
American-sponsored peace talks collapsed in April 2014 when PA President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept a framework peace agreement presented by the U.S., and announced a unity government between Fatah and the terror group Hamas.