Palestinians Disappointed with 'Summit'

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RAMALLAH - Palestinian Authority officials were not happy with Tuesday's three-way "summit" with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In an interview published on Thursday, Abbas said "fundamental disagreements" with the Israelis made it impossible to restart peace talks.

"There is no common ground for discussion," Abbas said.

Meanwhile, senior Fatah officials said Obama humiliated Abbas and caused "grave damage" to his credibility among his own people.

"What are the Palestinians supposed to think of their president when they see him doing the exact opposite of what he had promised them? How will anyone take him seriously from now on?" one official asked.

"For the past seven or eight months, President Abbas has been declaring day and night that he wouldn't met with Netanyahu or resume the peace talks unless Israel froze all settlement construction, including new homes being built in east Jerusalem," another official said.

Following the summit, Abbas issued a statement saying he had agreed to participate "out of respect for Obama."

"Our position after the meeting is the same as it was before the meeting in New York," he said.

"We came to New York out of respect for President Obama and his tireless efforts in favor of the Palestinian people in various fields," the PA president stated.

For his part, Netanyahu said he was happy with Obama's call to restart peace talks without preconditions.

"I am pleased that President Obama accepted my request that there should be no preconditions," the prime minister told Israel Radio by phone from New York.

Source: The Jerusalem Post, The Associated Press

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