Abbas: Willing to speak in Knesset, but on own terms
In interview to Voice of Russia, PA President Abbas turns East to Putin to ask for support in statehood bid, peace talks, internal reconciliation. Regarding PM Netanyahu's standing invitation to visit the Knesset – Abbas says willing to come, but on own terms
"Netanyahu comes up with an offer and then immediately puts forward his own terms – that this and that should be said and so on. No, if those terms are put forward, I do not accept" the invitation, Abbas told Voice of Russia's Elena Suponina.
- Abbas: Peace talks to continue, regardless
- UN: Israel settlement building hurting peace talks
- Hollande with Abbas: Put end to settlements
However, Abbas added "if (Netanyahu) wants me to come and say the things I want to say, then I am ready to do it – but only in order to say what I want to say and not what he wants to hear."
When asked about the potential timing of the establishment of a Palestinian state, Abbas claimed that "when Israel realizes the need to establish peace in the Middle East, then there will emerge a Palestinian state with the capital in holy Jerusalem."
Abbas announced his intention to visit Russia in a bid to promote peace talks, as well as discuss a number of key regional issues – namely Palestinian reconciliation, Syria, Yassar Arafat's contested death and Egypt – with Russian leadership, which he dubbed "long-standing friends" with whom the Palestinians "have always had very good and trustful relations with."
According to the report, Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit the Palestinian Authority.
Regarding the Palestinian attempt to circumnavigate peace negotiations though a unilateral bid for full membership in the United Nations, Abbas said that "we are not discussing that at present."
Yet nonetheless added that he has no doubt that "In the future, Palestine will become a full-fledged UN member state."
In anticipation of his Russian visit, Abbas was asked by Voice of Russia what Russia can do to promote and aid peace talks currently underway through American mediation.
"Russia has a significant part to play (in peace talks). First, Russia is a friend of Palestine. Second, Russia is a great power. And it is also a member of the Middle East Quartet mediating in the Palestinian issue. Russia is playing and will continue to play an important role in the Middle East."
Abbas made similar comments regarding Russia's ability to aid the Palestinians in reconciling between Hamas and Fatah – at violent odds since 2006 when Hamas ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip – with the aid of their new found power and influence in Egypt.
"In our view, Egypt will again be actively engaged in mediation (between Hamas and Fatah) soon. We would like to discuss the future of that process with Russia, especially since Egypt and Russia have very good relations now. And we, for our part, are very pleased with that."
Regarding Yasser Arafat's death, which has recently returned to headlines after Swiss and Russian reports hinted that the former Fatah leader's passing was not natural, Abbas said that "We believe it is now time to take the investigation to an international level. And we will ask Russia for help."
Hinting at possible tensions with the US in this regard, Abbas was asked "You’ve said that the investigation of Yasser Arafat’s death should be taken to an international level. But as far as I know (the interviewer said), the United States opposes that."
"We have not received any answer from the Americans to that effect," Abbas said, adding that "Yes, we brought it up during our talks with them. And they said that their lawyers specializing in international law would be studying the matter."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop