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'What concessions?' Abbas
Photo: AFP
Abbas says will halt direct talks if pressed on borders
In Libya, Palestinian leader says will 'grab briefcase and leave' if asked to make concessions on several issues in framework of direct talks with Israel. 'We are not straying from our positions,' he says

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to halt the recently launched direct talks with Israel should he be pressed to make concessions regarding the 1967 borders, the return of Palestinian refugees and other issues.

 

"I'll grab my briefcase and leave," he said Monday during an official visit to Libya.

 

Responding to Palestinians claiming he is prepared to make far-reaching concessions in the framework of the negotiations, the Palestinian leader said, "What concessions are they talking about? We haven't ceded anything."

 

"It is true that we are conducting negotiations, but without straying from our positions," Abbas was quoted as saying by the east Jerusalem-based al-Quds daily as.

 


Abbas (L) with Tunisian president, Monday (Photo: AFP)

 

The Palestinian leader added, "The borders issue, which will be discussed in the coming days, will determine many other issues related to the negotiations with Israel."

 

According to al-Quds, Abbas reiterated that he would suspend the talks in case Israel resumes construction in the West Bank's Jewish settlements after the moratorium expires on September 26.

 

Later on Monday, Abbas arrived in Tunisia, where he updated President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on the direct talks.

 

On Saturday Palestinian sources expressed satisfaction with the launching of the direct talks in Washington last week, and especially with the US administration's pledge to attempt to reach a settlement within a year.

 

The London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported that the mood of members of the Palestinian negotiating team "changed 180 degrees after the initial tension that enveloped them."

 

 

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