US President Barack Obama on Friday expressed strong support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Obama telephoned Abbas and briefed him on his meeting with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and promised to exert every possible effort
to establish an independent Palestinian state which will live alongside
Israel, according to the Associated Press and Palestinian news agency
guarantees for direct talks
PM: Peace plan possible by end of '11
According to the report, the US and Palestinian presidents discussed the
latest events unfolding in the Middle East and developments between
Obama and Netanyahu regarding peace discussions in the past week. The
White House said Obama and Abbas talked about ways to revive those talks
in the near future.
Obama said Abbas has shown a commitment to peace and "restraint" in recent months
in handling long-standing conflicts with Israel. The same
views were expressed earlier this week about Netanyahu when he and Obama
met at the White House. Obama is trying to show careful attention to
both sides and prod direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to WAFA, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the Palestinian
president emphasized his intent to engage in a "serious and continuous
peace process that would lead to ending the Israeli occupation of the
Palestinian territory in 1967, as well as the establishment of a
Palestinian independent state."
On Friday, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of
pressuring the Palestinians into joining direct talks without meeting
the basic condition for moving forward, freezing the expansion of the
settlements, Army Radio reported.
"The manner of the talks is not important, just their content. The keys
are in Netanyahu's hands. The talks will continue the moment he agrees
to freeze building in the settlements," said Erekat.