Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
said negotiations between Israel
and the Palestinians are still in the early stages. "We're still at the beginning of the road," he told German
TV. "We have enough time to continue to examine the main and tough issues."
The Palestinians have refused discussing the negotiations since they began two months ago and have not leaked any information from the talks. Alongside optimism, Abbas also outlined the main obstacles in the talks. "The settlement construction policy cannot go on, " he said. "The destruction (caused by) the settlers cannot go on and the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque cannot go on."
He reiterated that a peace agreement will be put to a Palestinian referendum. Addressing a conference in Germany, Abbas said that Jerusalem should be the capital of both states and that the Palestinians
believe that it should be open to worshippers of the three religions.
The Palestinian president added that Israel's claims to east Jerusalem
render the conflict a religious one and stressed that the Palestinian Authority is strictly opposed to this.
Addressing the peace process, he said, "We are not operating in a vacuum and are not running around in a maze. We know what the finish line is and what the last stop is."
He said that the Palestinians aim to achieve a just peace that will solve all of the standing issues adding that Palestinians are facing a time of hope and economic rejuvenation.
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