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Arab League Report Slams U.S. Security Ideas For Palestine

posted 21 Dec 2013, 11:21 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Dec 2013, 11:22 ]

The chief of the Arab League criticises a U.S. plan to allow a continued Israeli military presence for the next 10 years in the Jordan Valley, during a press conference in Cairo.

CAIRO, EGYPT (DECEMBER 21, 2013) (REUTERS) - The Arab League on Saturday (December 21) rejected U.S. proposals that would allow Israeli soldiers to be stationed on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, underscoring the challenge facing a U.S. effort to wrap up a peace deal by April.

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At an emergency meeting called at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said there could be not one Israeli soldier in the territory of a future Palestine.

But a resolution he read at the end of the meeting did not repeat the harshly critical language of a report circulated to the Arab delegates ahead of the gathering.

The League's report, seen by Reuters, said the U.S. security plan "achieved Israeli security expansionist demands, and guaranteed (Israel's) continued control of (the Jordan Valley) on the security pretext", and described it as "an American retreat".

Palestinian sources have detailed a U.S. plan to allow a continued Israeli military presence for the next 10 years in the Jordan Valley.

Israel says its troops have to remain there to prevent arms and militants entering the West Bank.

Speaking to media after the meeting Elaraby said it was clear what the crux of what the League was trying to say was.

"The Arab league report highly criticises the Israeli position," he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the idea of Israeli troops being stationed along the Jordan Valley, but says he could accept the deployment of U.S. troops there.

Speaking about the process of the peace talks, Elaraby did not elaborate on what was discussed behind closed doors but reiterated the parties' commitement to a two-state solution.

''The United States has vowed to implement plans for the creation of two states, with East Jerusalemas the Palestinian capital, and with the return to the 1976 borders. They agreed this would take nine months," he said.

"If you think that the negotiations have failed to happen by the end of April, wait until then to say so, don't say they have failed today. The negotiations are ongoing and the Palestinian president is in contact with the American foreign secretary," he added.

U.S. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs John Kerry will arrive in the Middle East on Thursday (December 26) where he is due to visit the Israeli and Palestinian territories.

Israel and the Palestinians resumed direct peace negotiations in July after a three-year break, but there has been little public sign of progress.