Following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Friday, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said that positive developments have been occurring recently that could contribute to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We are aware that the process will not be easy, but we are here to help remove obstacles, and you can count on us to make efforts to that end,” Solana said.
Solana also mentioned that the international Quartet would convene next month to discuss a renewal of the Road Map peace plan, and pointed out that in order for a real diplomatic process to work, a united Palestinian stance was needed, starting with an end to the violence between Fatah and Hamas.
During the meeting, Solana and Abbas agreed that following the Quartet’s meeting, its representatives would meet with Israeli and Palestinian representatives to set an official date for the renewal of the diplomatic negotiations between the two sides.
However, Solana emphasized that in order for negotiations to take place, the Palestinian Authority would have to be run by a government that was internationally accepted.
Obstacles to unityAbbas commented on the issue during a press conference and said that he hoped negotiations for a unity government were successful. In the event that they were not, Abbas said he would call for early elections.
Abbas emphasized that the decision to go to early elections was not directed against Hamas.
Members of the Hamas organization expressed hope that dialogue for a unity government would be renewed shortly.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that he too hoped negotiations would be successful, but explained that it was the Israeli and American pressure being put on Fatah that was to blame for delaying an agreement on a unity government.
Also during his meeting with Solana, Abbas reiterated that the Palestinians were interested in renewing the process, which would conclude in the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The Palestinian president also confirmed reports of his expected visit to Damascus, where he was set to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Palestinian officials including Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.