Israel, Palestinians agree to US monitoring ‘road map’

Jerusalem, Nov 9 (DPA) Israel and the Palestinians have agreed for the US to set up a “mechanism” that is to monitor and determine implementation of their mutual obligations under the 2003 “road map” peace plan, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

The sides plan to revive the long-dormant peace plan, authored by the US, Europe, United Nations and Russia, at the Middle East conference expected to take place in Annapolis, Maryland later this month.

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According to Ha’aretz, which quoted senior Israeli government officials, the Palestinian negotiating team head Ahmed Qureia refused to accept implementation of the road map’s first phase as a condition for progress toward final peace negotiations.

Qureia insisted the Palestinians already implemented most of their road map obligations and refused to “show flexibility”, although Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other members of the negotiating team had already shown willingness to accept the Israeli demand, the government officials charged.

Qureia, however, accepted the demand in his latest meeting with the Israeli negotiating team headed by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni late Thursday, they said. As part of the three-hour parley, he also met in private with Livni for the third time this week.

The road map’s first phase calls on the Palestinians to arrest militants and dismantle armed factions.

It calls on Israel to uproot new settlers’ outposts set up in the West Bank in the past six years without formal government authorization, to freeze all settlement construction, and to withdraw its troops from reoccupied Palestinian autonomous areas.

Israeli-Palestinian bickering over who should implement which steps first has been a major cause for the stalemate in the peace process of the past years.