Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
hosted Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Thursday, two days after his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
He took the opportunity to blame Israel
for the standstill in peace talks, and said at a joint press conference, "The Palestinian leadership is determined to bring about the success of the proximity talks
and there is nothing stopping these talks from developing into direct negotiations, but Israel's actions only complicate matters."
However, the PA president stressed, "We believe the solution to all the issues will only be reached through talks, and we will not resume violence. We are ready to discuss all issues in order to make progress."
Among other things, Abbas addressed the Israel's easements
on the siege on the Gaza Strip, and called for the blockade to be completely lifted; saying construction goods should be allowed into the Strip in order to rebuild some 25,000 houses damaged during Operation Cast Lead.
Regarding the deadly Israeli raid
on the Gaza-bound flotilla, the Palestinian leader expressed his support of the formation of an international inquiry commission.
Abbas also commented on measures taken by Israel against Hamas representatives in Jerusalem who were arrested after the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit
and recently released from prison, including Muhammad Abu Tir.
He said, "Stripping a Palestinian parliament member of their residency in Jerusalem is a dangerous step that hurts the peace effort, and the Palestinian leadership will not let it pass silently."
The Austrian chancellor said negotiations are the only way to secure good ties in the Middle East, and added that the European Union views the siege on the Gaza Strip in a negative light.