Abbas rejects reports that peace talks have reached a dead end

PA president: Still have plenty of time to discuss core issues.

October 20, 2013 10:09
1 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with US President Barack Obama.

Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected reports that peace talks with Israel were at a dead end in an interview with German television channel DW on Saturday.

"The negotiations are difficult, but they are not at a dead end. We're just getting started and we have plenty of time to deal with the main issues that make the talks difficult," Abbas said.

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A report in the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat earlier this month cited Western sources as saying peace talks have been halted due to Israel's "refusal to engage in serious negotiations about borders, focusing instead on security."

Similar claims were made by various Palestinian Authority figures, who said Israel was seeking to "win time" and "impose more facts on the ground" in order to "dictate the outcome of the talks."

When asked to elaborate further on the talks, the PA president told DW he is not at liberty to divulge the content of the talks, only the issues at hand, such as borders and security.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian demand for a state in the 1967 borders.

"We discuss these ideas. We have ideas that we present, and the Israelis present their ideas. More than that, I cannot say," he said.

Israeli officials connected to the talks, respecting the “gag order” US Secretary of State John Kerry has effectively clamped on the talks, have consistently been refusing to comment on the talks.

This has not stopped members of the coalition opposed to the talks of speaking vehemently against the negotiations.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio on Sunday morning that he did not believe Abbas was a partner for peace and that he did not see a point in seeking a permanent agreement with the Palestinians at this moment in time.

Instead, the former foreign minister said, Israel should focus on deepening economic and security ties with the Palestinians.

Liberman asserted that the problem lies in Palestinian education. Official Palestinian media must first stop its incitement against Israel, and Palestinian text books must be altered to include a map recognizing Israel's right to exist, before talks on a permanent peace agreement could start.

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