RAMALLAH, July 30 (JMCC) - Refuse direct Middle East peace talks. This is the message that Former justice minister Haim Ramon of Kadima
brought in a meeting with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat
earlier this month, reports a source quoted by Israel Radio. Ramon , says the source, was sent as an emissary of President Shimon Peres
The two met at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem on July 8 . The source who leaked news of their talks to Israel Radio said he happened to be in the hotel for a separate meeting, and was close enough to hear every detail of the conversation. Read
Ramon reportedly proceeded to tell Erekat that the Palestinians must not enter direct negotiations with Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would inevitably refuse any demands posed to him.
Peres' bureau confirmed that the president had met with Ramon for lunch a day earlier, on July 7, and that the former minister had informed him about the planned meeting with Erekat.
But the president denied that he had sent Ramon to persuade Erekat to refuse direct negotiations, adding that he had in fact implored the minister to do just the opposite. The president's bureau added that Peres did not need a mediator to meet with the Palestinian negotiator on his behalf.
Peres is scheduled to discuss the efforts to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday, a spokeswoman from Peres' office in Jerusalem confirmed.
more at Haaretz…