Washington, Sept 28 (ANI): The United States has expressed it 'disappointment' at Israel's decision of not to extend a ban on building West Bank settlements.
According to the BBC, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was sent to the region in an attempt to salvage direct peace talks that were restarted earlier this month. The 10-month moratorium came to an end on Monday.
Mitchell would reportedly return to the region on Tuesday to continue urgent efforts to break a deadlock in negotiations over Israeli settlements. He would further hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials later in the week.
The United Nations and the European Union also expressed disappointment at what UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Israel's "provocative" actions.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would discuss the settlement issue with Palestinian negotiators in Ramallah on Wednesday, and the 22-member Arab League in the Egyptian capital Cairo next Monday. On Sunday, he had warned that the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would be a "waste of time" unless the ban continued.
"After all these meetings we may be able to issue a position to clarify what is the Palestinian and Arab opinion on this matter, after Israel has refused to freeze settlements," Abbas added.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avider Lieberman, however, said the Palestinians had squandered the moratorium, which he described as a "unilateral gesture of goodwill".
"The Palestinians wasted time and completely refused to accept this gesture and accused Israel that it's a fraud, that it's not serious," he added. NI)