Thursday, August 26, 2010
Russian armored vehicles sent to PNA stuck in Jordan
Fifty armored personnel carriers sent by Russia to the Palestinian National Authority are stuck in Jordan because of Israeli red tape, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia said on Thursday.
Russia sent the armored personnel carriers to the PNA in June. The vehicles have to be delivered to the PNA's administrative capital of Ramallah via Jordan.
"This delay is caused by formalities from the Israeli side. They drag out this process in every possible way," Fayed Mustafa said.
"But we hope that our forthcoming direct talks with Israel will help resolve the situation," he said.
He also thanked Russia for the help.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet in Washington on September 2 on an invitation by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The meeting is to resume direct peace talks between Israel and the PNA that have been stalled since December 2008 after Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
The Palestinians have so far refused to resume peace talks, citing as a major obstacle the ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
They also demand that Israel agree to the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Middle East war as the basis for a future Palestinian state.
Israel has urged that talks should resume without any preconditions, which has been supported by Clinton.
Experts doubt that Netanyahu and Abbas will agree on the so-called final status issues, including the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, Jewish settlement construction and the status of Jerusalem, during the Washington talks.
However, the meeting itself, a result of months-long diplomatic efforts by U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, was welcomed by many as a sign of progress in the Middle East settlement.