The chief Palestinian negotiator in peace talks with Israel vehemently denied late Friday reports that the two sides would meet again in the West Bank on Monday after kicking off a new round of negotiations in Washington.
In a conversation with Haaretz, Saeb Erekat dismissed claims made earlier in the day by another senior Palestinian negotiator, Nabil Shaath, who said the parties would follow up Friday's U.S. meeting with another in the city of Jericho on Monday.
Shaath, who attended the official launch of the direct peace talks in Washington earlier this week, said a United States representative would be present at the meeting, which would also include Erekat and chief Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho.
According to Shaath, the unscheduled meeting would lay ground for the next formal negotiating session, scheduled to begin on September 14 in the southern Sinai Red Sea city of Sharm al-Sheikh.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will all participate in the Sinai summit.
Shaath said Israel had decided to postpone the end of its 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement freeze from September 26 to September 30 to give the sides extra time to negotiate.
"Israelis claim that they can't continue the settlement freeze while we say that we can’t continue with negotiations if settlement building continues," Shaath said. "We will continue to work seriously until the end of the month."
He also said U.S. President Barack Obama intends to visit the region in order to move the peace process forward, but that an official date had yet to be set.
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