Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad expressed optimism about the prospects of a peace agreement with Israel, saying that "it is possible to get this process to move forward as long as there is a dialogue on the core issues," in a Channel Two interview aired on Saturday.

In the interview, which took place at the Saban Forum in Washington DC, Fayyad stated that "we can take advantage of the opportunity to get a serious political process going between the sides, as long as we discuss issues of substance."

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Fayyad explained he was optimistic that a Palestinian state could be established by August 2011.

"In the past too much time was wasted on the process, but we should not be discouraged because we have failed before, we should not give up," he said.

"We are looking for a state of Palestine, not a unilateral declaration of statehood," he said.

He said that the Palestinians have "demonstrated our position to the Americans on the permanent status issues, and I believe the Israelis need to do the same" if the peace process is to move forward.

This statement came after earlier this week the PA urged the EU to recognize a Palestinian state. This move also follows the recognition of a Palestinian state with 1967 borders by several South American countries.

Asked if the Palestinian people would support a peace agreement Fayyad said that "there has been a fundamental change in the mindset of the Palestinians" and that the Palestinian people are "fully committed to non-violence."

Fayyad concluded that "I think its time for the expectations to be set high" and that "we have to believe that this can happen in order for it to happen."

Meanwhile, after the failure of direct peace talks, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was in the region to try and encourage indirect proximity peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


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