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Abbas: First round of peace talks dealt with final-status issues

August 15, 2013 23:14

PA president sheds light on secretive talks held in Jerusalem.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and PA president Abbas in Ramallah, August 15

Abbas and Ban Ki-moon 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that the first session of talks with Israel, which was held in Jerusalem a day earlier, dealt with all final-status issues, including borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security and prisoners.

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah after meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Abbas expressed hope that the two sides would reach agreement on all the final-status issues in six to nine months.

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“It’s premature to say whether we have or haven’t achieved something,” Abbas said. “We hope that the coming days would bring us answers that we could present to all.”

The Palestinians went to the negotiations with Israel with “sincere intentions,” he said. He expressed hope that Israel would reciprocate similarly “to create the appropriate atmosphere by halting settlements which we and the world consider illegitimate.”

He called for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Abbas stressed that negotiations and diplomacy are the best way to achieve peace in the region.

“Palestine, according to the international law, has become a state under occupation,” he said. “This occupation must end on the basis of a two-state solution on the 1967 borders with a slight swap of land, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Earlier, a number of PLO officials told Abbas during a meeting in Ramallah that they remain opposed to the negotiations with Israel.

The PLO officials were speaking during a meeting between Abbas and members of a “political committee” consisting of top PLO and Fatah representatives.

Abbas briefed the officials on the latest developments surrounding the peace talks with Israel.

A PLO official said after the meeting that some officials told Abbas that it was unacceptable that the Palestinians would be talking to Israel while construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods was continuing.
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