Abbas: We’ll demand Barghouti for Shalit
Palestinian president says PA will demand release of Fatah leader Barghouti, PLF Secretary-General Saadat as part of any agreement that would include Shalit’s release; Israeli official: He can forget about it. Representatives for groups involved in kidnapping deny reports of imminent prisoner exchange deal
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA will demand the release of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Palestinian Liberation Front Secretary-General Ahmed Saadat as part of any agreement that would include the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
An Israeli official in the Prime Minister’s Office said in response to Abbas’ demand that, "He can forget about it.”
In an interview with an Arab satellite TV station, Abbas lauded Egypt’s role in the negotiations on a possible prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government.
Representatives of the Palestinian organizations holding Shalit captive denied reports of an imminent deal for the corporal’s release and called to ‘wait for confirmation from the factions that carried out the operation (Shalit’s kidnapping).”
“The reports surrounding the deal are baseless,” Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, said.
'We consider Egypt a big sister'
Abbas, for his part, said the Palestinian Authority is reiterating its demand to establish a state within the ‘67 borders and find a solution for the refugees. The Palestinian president said that during his recent visit to the US, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both said they still back a two-state solution that would include Israel’s withdrawal to the ’67 borders.
“There are talks with America and the UN, and we hope there will be secret negotiations with Israel,” he said. “This would be a good opportunity to reach an agreement.”
Abbas added: “We consider Egypt a big sister that wants the best for us and grants us all we need on a local, regional and international level. There are also consultations with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and northern Africa countries.”
He said that the PA will not be able to pay salaries during the month of Ramadan, ‘which adds to the suffering of the Palestinian people caused by the siege imposed by Israel.’