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.
“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.”
called for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
stressed that negotiations and diplomacy are the best way to achieve peace in
“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.