Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
newspaper Al Rai that "any agreement reached with the Israelis will be brought to a referendum." In the report, released Monday, Abbas added: "The United States is serious in formulating a solution to the Palestinian issue, through introducing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
According to the Jordanian paper, the interview with Abbas was conducted last Friday in his Ramallah office, immediately after US Secretary of State John Kerry
announced the resumption of negotiations between Israel
and the Palestinians.
Abbas further added that "the debate on the refugee issue will be part of the Arab Peace Initiative, in addition to agreements on security, borders and prisoners. Any security solution must remove Israel permanently from the Palestinian land, together with allowing Israel the right to defend its security within its borders, with accordance with the neighboring countries."
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
During the interview, the Palestinian Authority chairman said that "we want to reach a two-state solution, and that is the prevalent view among the American administration, but as of now we have not achieved anything." Abbas also revealed that "we were close to an agreement with Ehud Olmert, but he stumbled in the political arena, and then came Benjamin Netanyahu
and the peace process stalled."
In regards to the possibility of the talks failing, Abbas said that "Kerry took our proposals in regards to the resumption of negotiations, and if there will be no agreement that gets the wheels of peace in motion, all options are open. Our first option is to have an independent state through negotiating the borders and security, and setting a schedule for that negotiation process." He once again stressed the PA's stance on settlements, saying "they are illegal since 1967."
Meanwhile, Abbas' aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said the path to formal negotiations with Israel is still blocked. He said that for actual peace talks to resume, Israel must first accept its pre-1967 war frontier as a baseline and halt settlement building. In a statement released Sunday night, Abu Radeneh noted that Abbas agreed to send a delegate to Washington to continue lower-level preliminary talks with an Israeli counterpart about the terms for negotiations.
AP contributed to this report.
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