Dubai: The Arab League on Sunday urged Palestinians to seek guarantees in writing as a precondition for direct Middle East talks amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in Cairo.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks on Sunday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had earlier discussed with US envoy George Mitchell efforts to resume the deadlocked peace talks.
They also discussed the efforts to "prepare necessary conditions for negotiations that [would] achieve a two-state solution", according to the official Egyptian news agency Mena.
Cairo talks coincided with warnings from Arab League chief Amr Mousa, who also met Mitchell.
"We cannot automatically move from one negotiation to another without written guarantees," said Mousa, whose 22-member pan-Arab organisation backed indirect talks between Israel and Palestinians in May.
Abbas is committed to the Arab League conditions for resuming direct talks which include an end to the building of colonies in occupied Palestinian lands by the Israelis, Mousa added.
Colony freeze sought
A Palestinian leader echoed Arab League's terms. "What we want is a complete colonial activities freeze," Mustafa Barghouti said. Holding any negotiations without such a freeze, would be like "covering the colonial activities", Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a lawmaker, told Gulf News.
The League backed the indirect talks in March but supported their suspension after Israel said it would build more Jewish homes in occupied east Jerusalem. In May, the League backed the talks again after the Palestinians said they received unspecified guarantees, but said direct negotiations would come only after a complete end to colony building in occupied lands.