Abbas says seeking Palestinian state without settlements

PA president tells visiting US lawmakers UN bid isn't his first choice but doesn't see it as contradictory with the peace process.

August 12, 2011 09:15
2 minute read.
PA President Abbas at PLO Executive meeting

PA President Abbas at PLO Executive meeting 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Thursday with a US Democratic Congressional delegation currently visiting the region, telling them that he is seeking a Palestinian state without settlements, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

According to the report, Abbas told the visiting legislators that regarding paths to statehood, his "first, second and third choice" is negotiations, but added that he does not see going to the United Nations to seek recognition of statehood as being contradictory "with the essence of the peace process."

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Abbas claimed that seeking a statehood resolution in the UN neither aims to isolate nor delegitimize Israel, but rather to promote the two state solution.

The PA president also gave his vision of security in a future Palestinian state, saying that a third party comprised of NATO forces under US command would take responsibility, WAFA reported.

But according to US Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MA), the head of the congressional delegation, the Palestinian leadership sent mixed messages during the Ramallah meeting, with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad saying that no decision on the UN bid in September has been finalized, while Abbas gave the impression that going to the UN was a done deal.

"Fayyad said that the decision to go to the UN had not been made, in other words had not been finalized, which we were pleased to hear," Hoyer told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the talks.

"Then we met with Abbas for about an hour and a half, and the discussions were different from Fayyad in the sense that he talked throughout as if the decision had been made, and that they were going to the UN," Hoyer said.  

Hoyer, who co-authored a Congressional resolution last month with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) against a Palestinian unilateral move at the UN, said that he and some other members of the delegation told Abbas they felt a move at the UN would be a "destabilizing effort," and that both Israel and the Palestinians agreed in the past that the only way to solve difference was through bilateral negotiations.

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