Abed Rabbo: Sept. time limit for talks Photo: Ori Porat
PLO: Serious talks or unilateral declaration
Negotiations based on 1967 borders can prevent unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, Yasser Abed Rabbo tells al-Hayyat, adding that new state will not accept Israeli military, civilian presence in West Bank
The Palestinian Authority may backtrack on its intention to appeal for a unilateral declaration of statehood if Israel concedes to negotiations based on a state within the 1967 borders, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yasser Abed Rabbo said Monday.
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Abed Rabbo told the London-based al-Hayyat that the PA is still determined to appeal to the UN on the matter, but will withdraw the demand upon the beginning of "real and serious negotiations based on the 1967 borders, which includes limited border corrections without exchanges of populations, and which will terminate in September".
The secretary general told the paper the US had recently begun attempts to restart the negotiations, which came to a standstill in September after three weeks of direct talks.
The Palestinians refused to continue negotiating with Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement construction.
Abed Rabbo explained that the US move is aimed at defusing the Palestinian intention to achieve a unilateral declaration of statehood from the international community.
Another senior PLO official told the paper that if the appeal to the UN is accepted, the Palestinians will immediately demand an extraction of Israel's military forces and settlements from the West Bank, as well as full membership with the UN.
"There are two options: Serious negotiations that will lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state or intervention by the UN and the Security Council to enforce this decision. There is no third option," he was quoted as saying.
Abed Rabbo added that the PA would honor all of its internal and external obligations as a formal state, but that it would not accept Israeli military or civilian presence in its territories. He claims most European governments will recognize a Palestinian state.
The international community has an obligation to intervene in favor of the Palestinian cause in light of recent Arab uprisings, Abed Rabbo said, comparing his case with that of Kosovo and Bosnia.