Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he was determined to achieve a "framework agreement" laying the foundations for a peace deal with Israel before the end of US President George W. Bush's term in office.
"Our priority objective, which is also that of President Bush, To complete the negotiations by the end of 2008, "said Abbas, who is one an official visit to Tunis. He will be heading to Washington Tuesday.
The Palestinians' he said, "hope to reach not an agreement of principles but a framework agreement to be used as the basis for the final agreement… the conclusion of such an agreement is the initial premise needed for peace between the Palestinians and Israel.
"If we succeed the rest will be simpler," he stresses. "If the year ends without result, we will face a difficult situation... It will take two years for the the new administration in the US to become familiar with the deal... We want to avoid such disarray," he added.
"There is no doubt that it is in the best interest of President Bush to see this agreement concluded during his term," said Abbas, adding that any agreement, whether of framework or otherwise, stressed Abbas, would be submit to the Palestinian people's approval by referendum.