Abbas: UN statehood bid will not affect peace process

While on tour to drum up support for recognition of Palestinian state, PA president says eventual return to negotiations a certainty.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 21, 2011 09:47
1 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

Mahmoud Abbas 311. (photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that efforts to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September "will not be detrimental to peace nor to negotiations that we want to continue to have."

"Whatever happens and whatever the reaction and the result of our action in the UN, we know conclusively that we will return to the negotiating table to reach the best solutions with the Israelis," AFP quoted Abbas as saying while in Spain as part of a tour to enlist support for the statehood bid.

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The PA president's statements came after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated what he has said numerous times in the past: that he was willing to sit down immediately and negotiate with Abbas, be it in Jerusalem, Ramallah, or elsewhere. Netanyahu made the comments in an interview with pan-Arab network Al Arabiya that will air Thursday. Excerpts from the interview on the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based network were broadcast on its website Wednesday.

He said that when negotiations start, everything – including Jerusalem and refugees – would be on the table.

“But we have to get to the table,” he said.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, Abbas’s spokesman, was quoted by Israel Radio as having responded by saying that the Palestinians would meet Netanyahu anywhere as well, as long as he first froze settlement construction and accepted that the negotiations had to begin on the basis of the 1967 lines.



One government official said Rudaineh’s comment illustrated that the “fundamental reason” for the current impasse was the decision by the PA to refuse to negotiate by placing preconditions that were never there in the past.

“No government,” the official said, “has ever agreed to negotiate based on the 1967 lines.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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