No official reason was given for the resignation. Erekat, who has been at the centre of peace talks with the Israeli government over the last decade, is understood to have been excluded by Abu Abbas from the Palestinian delegation preparing to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday to discuss the US-drafted ‘roadmap’ outlining a proposed route to a peace settlement. Erekat is a close confidante of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whom the Israeli and US governments have been attempting to sideline from the peace talks.