Abbas: Palestinians entitled to Jerusalem

PA president voices doubt on reaching Bush's goal for peace by end '08, despite "invested efforts."

September 6, 2008 18:45
1 minute read.
annapolis 224.88

annapolis table 248.88 ap. (photo credit: )

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressed doubt on Saturday that it will be possible to reach a "shelf agreement" with Israel by the end of the year, as stipulated at last year's Annapolis conference. During a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas said that while "both sides invested efforts, there's no certainty that we'll come to an agreement by the end of the year," since time was running out. Abbas met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last Sunday, and pledged to continue working for a shelf agreement by this year. Abbas, in Egypt, said he wanted to see an agreement covering all issues, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Olmert is proposing that an agreement be hammered out by the end of the year that deals with all the core issues except Jerusalem, which he is proposing would be discussed at a later time in another framework, perhaps under an international umbrella. "The solution that we Palestinians want must include all matters, and not defer on any," Abbas said. "Both Jerusalem and the right of return are Palestinian rights. A source in the Prime Minister's Office, responding to Abbas's doubts about the possibility of reaching an agreement by the end of December, said that while "no one can guarantee success," both sides remain committed to making the effort. Abbas, meanwhile, praised Egypt for its work to forge a unified Palestinian national position in talks between internal Palestinian factions. "Egyptian efforts in that area are honest and serious," he said. He said that Egyptian efforts dealt not only with renewal of the dialogue between Hamas and Fatah, but also with the nature of Palestinian government, adding that possible deployment of Arab League forces in the Gaza Strip would be discussed at a later stage. The PA president's comments came a day after he pledged to try to reach a final-status peace agreement with Israel by the end of the year, though he also admitted that the goal might not be achieved. Speaking on Friday at the Ambrosetti Forum, an annual gathering of global political and business leaders in Cernobbio, Italy, Abbas rejected the notion that he and Olmert might put forth a partial document outlining the areas in which they agree and leaving open other issues - most notably the Jerusalem file. "It is necessary for the agreement to address all... issues," Abbas said. "It is all or nothing, really." AP contributed to this report

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