JERUSALEM: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni met in London for the first time since the collapse of their US-sponsored peace talks, Israeli television reported yesterday.
A Palestinian official confirmed the meeting between Abbas and Livni, Israel’s justice minister, on Thursday in London. “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was informed of the meeting but was angered by it,” according to Israel’s Channel 2 television.
US Secretary of State John Kerry held what were termed informal talks in London this week separately with both Livni and Abbas, who travelled on to Venezuela. A US official said Kerry gave both sides the same message — that the fate of the talks lies in the hands of the Israelis and Palestinians.
Kerry coaxed the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table in July 2013 after a three-year hiatus, and both sides agreed to keep talking for nine months. But peace efforts derailed even ahead of an April 29 deadline, with Israel and Palestinians trading recriminations and reneging on commitments.
Abbas arrived in Caracas early morning for a three-day state visit to Venezuela, his third visit to the oil-producing country in five years,with a view to seeking backing from Caracas for observer status in three Latin American regional organizations.
In their talks, Abbas and Maduro will exchange views on the peace process, as well as Palestinian relations with Latin America, according to Palestinian envoy Linda Sobeh Ali. Abbas will also seek support for the Palestinian Authority’s quest to be granted observer status in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).