April 1 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed more than a dozen international conventions on Tuesday, citing anger at Israel's delay of a prisoner release in a decision that jeopardized U.S. efforts to salvage fragile peace talks. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed more than a dozen international conventions on Tuesday, citing anger at Israel's delay of a prisoner release. ...A move that further jeopardizes peace talks. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT, MAHMOUD ABBAS, SAYING: "The leadership agreed totally on signing a number of the (international) agreements or organizations or conventions, which are around 12 conventions, and now I will sign them." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry immediately announced that he was cancelling a trip to the region on Wednesday. ...A trip that Washington had hoped would result in a three-way deal aimed at extending the negotiations into 2015. But Kerry insisted Abbas had agreed to keep his promise to continue negotiating: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY, SAYING: "Let me make it absolutely clear, none of the agencies that President Abbas signed tonight involve the U.N. -none of them. And President Abbas has given his word to me that he will keep his agreement and he intends to negotiate through the end of the month of April." Abbas had pledged not to seek joining world bodies. In exchange, Israel had promised to free more than 100 prisoners by the end of March, but has yet to release the final batch.