Arab ministers discuss reviving peace process

DOHA (AFP) - An Arab ministerial committee met on Monday in Qatar to discuss ways to revive the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process and plans to send a mission to Washington, the Arab League chief said.

"This meeting was to discuss the mission of the Arab delegation that will visit Washington on April 29," the organisation's secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, told reporters.

The talks of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee were attended by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani.

Mr Arabi said before the meeting that the delegation would go to the UN Security Council in New York. It is not clear if the delegation will still visit the UN headquarters.

The proposal to send a delegation to New York was agreed at an Arab summit held in Doha last month.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP that the delegation being sent to Washington would meet US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The team will include the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinians, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arab League chief, he said.

Mr Abbas told visiting Kerry on Sunday that Israel should freeze settlement construction and release prisoners, especially those arrested before the 1993 Oslo Accords, before any resumption of peace talks.

Mr Kerry said in Israel the next day that he was focused on a "quiet strategy" to breathe new life into the peace process, but he would not be rushed.

Mr Abbas also wants Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to present a map of the borders of a future Palestinian state before talks can resume, but a top political official told Israel's Maariv newspaper this was out of the question.