Chief Palestinian negotiator resigns

RAMALLAH: Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Saturday submitted his resignation during a meeting headed by President Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank city of Ramallah after an investigation commission found him responsible for the leaking of documents detailing the peace negotiations with Israel.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Secretary-General of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, did not confirm if Abbas had accepted the resignation, Arab News reported.

In January, Al-Jazeera published information from more than 1,600 confidential documents about the peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The documents revealed that Palestinian negotiators, headed by Erekat and Abbas, have been willing to make serious compromises, like letting Israel annex areas of East Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians as part of their future capital and severely limit the number of Palestinian refugees allowed to return.

Initially, Erekat said that US citizen Clayton Swisher who worked for the US Foreign Office and who now works at Al-Jazeera, and Alastair Crooke, a British citizen who once served as the EU's security coordinator on the settlements, are responsible for the leaks.

The chief negotiator assumed "responsibility for the theft of documents from his office" that he said had been "deliberately" tampered with, according to Arab News.

Erekat, who led or participated in the Israeli- Palestinian peace talks since the Madrid conference in 1991, accused in January Al-Jazeera of trying to discredit the peace process and provoke a revolt.

(Copyright 2011 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. )

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