Abbas poised to begin peace talks

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The Independent Online

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is poised to agree to indirect peace talks with Israel within days, ending months of stalemate, after he secured crucial backing from Arab states.

The breakthrough marks a small victory for US President Barack Obama, who has seen his determined efforts to get peace talks moving founder amid a row over Jewish construction in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem.

Mr Abbas met at the weekend with the 22-member Arab League, which endorsed four months of US-backed "proximity" talks, which the Obama administration hopes will lead to direct talks between the two sides.

The PLO's executive committee must take the final decision, but its approval is viewed as a formality. The committee is expected to meet within a few days.