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Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AP
Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AP
 
 

 

Abbas reveals deal PA made to restart peace talks

Palestinian president says he agreed to avoid lobbying in UN institutions in exchange for prisoner release; says talks are 'in review'

Roi Kais
Published: 09.02.13, 12:36 / Israel News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed Monday the circumstances of the deal that was made with Israel in order to renew the peace talks between the two sides.

 

Speaking to Fatah members in Ramallah, Abbas said that even before negotiations started, the US demanded that the Palestinians avoid lobbying in international intitutions.

 

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Abbas said that initially, the Palestinian Authority refused this demand. Eventually, he said, the Americans formally committed to negotiations based on a two-state solution in accordance with the 1967 borders—which finally made him agree to the renewal of talks.

 

In addition to this commitment, Abbas confirmed for the first time that the PA agreed not turn to the international community only if 104 security prisoners will be released, to which Israel agreed.

 

The PA will furthermore demand the release of another 250 prisoners. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday that the second group of Palestinian prisoners may well be released by the end of September.

 

As to the advancement of the peace talks, Abbas said that thus far there have only been reviews of each negotiating side's position. He estimated that the talks will take place in a timeframe of six to nine months, and repeated his commitment to bring any future agreement to a referendum.

 

Abbas also addressed the subject of Syria and said that he opposes any military strike from the US. "We will not have an Arab state bombed and we condemn the use of chemical weapons on either side. The solution in Syria must be political and not military." Abbas also disclosed that he has submitted a document to solve the Syria crisis, but did not say when or to whom.

 

In his speech Abbas criticized Hamas and US policy in the region: "The status of Hamas is deteriorating internally and externally; but we do not want to say we are gloating. They are part of our people, and if they act as such, we will protect them."

 

"There are pressures from Israel and the US that are known about reconciliation that Hamas won't agree to. There's a contradiction in US policy: on the one hand they do not want reconciliation with Hamas. But on the other hand, they want the Muslim Brotherhood to rule in Egypt."

 

 

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