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Abbas: Two states 'side by side' still possible

May 25, 2013 16:31

At World Economic Forum in Jordan, PA president says peace "doable" if Israel ends occupation, releases prisoners.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum, May 25, 2013.

Mahmoud Abbas at World Economic Forum. (photo credit:REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that peace with Israel is still possible, and that the Palestinians "want to have two states living side by side," Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

Speaking at the opening session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the King Hussein Convention Center at the Dead Sea, Abbas referred to the demands he made earlier to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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He stated that "ending the occupation of our land, releasing our prisoners, evacuating settlers and dismantling the apartheid wall are the elements that will make peace and security for you [the Israelis] and for us.

Sparking a glimmer of hope in what has been perceived as a stalemate in peace negotiations, Abbas said: "This is doable, so let's make peace a reality on the ground for our present and future generations to enjoy. "

Abbas said he hoped that efforts by Kerry would result in an end to Israel's occupation and guarantee a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"We still say we want a comprehensive and just peace, and we want to have two states living side by side in accordance with international resolutions, the Road Map plan and the Arab Peace Initiative," Ma'an quoted Abbas as saying.

Referring to growing economic development in the Palestinian territories, Abbas urged businessmen from Arab countries to invest and create partnerships with Palestinian business leaders, Ma'an reported.

"Israel has prevented us from exploiting our lands and natural resources, however, Palestine has promising opportunities and vast horizons in the fields of tourism, agriculture, industry, information technology, power generation, petroleum, natural gas, potassium and other fields," Abbas said.

The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa is convening from May 24-26 in Jordan. It will convene over 900 of the foremost leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Levant, North Africa and internationally, and brings together over 900 government, industry, media, civil society and youth officials to advance understanding, dialogue and action on the most immediate and urgent priorities as well as long-term imperatives.

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