Fayad: No peace agreement by end of '08

PA prime minister says negotiations not proceeding at necessary pace; slams illegal settlements.

Abbas Fayad 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas Fayad 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad predicts that a final peace agreement will not be signed by the end of 2008, Israel Radio reported on Friday. Speaking during a visit to Texas, Fayad said that the peace talks were not advancing at the necessary pace, and this was mainly due to Israel's negligence in dismantling illegal settlements and outposts in the West Bank. The PA prime minister also criticized Israeli military action in the West Bank, saying that IDF operations harm the PA's standing and sabotage Palestinians' efforts to enforce law and order in their territory. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni defended IDF military action in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and said that a Palestinian state would only be established after a solution was found to the threats which Israel faces. Livni made her comments during a meeting with James Jones, the US special envoy for Middle East security. Jones, who met with Livni after meetings the last two days in Cairo and Amman, is in the process of drawing up a plan about how to provide security in the interim period between when Israel leaves large swaths of the West Bank under any possible peace agreement, and when the PA is able to take over control of the vacated areas. Livni, however, told Jones there was a need to relate to the situation "on the ground right now," and that "the necessary action to be taken regarding security issues is not only in relation to what will be written in a future agreement." "The situation in the Gaza Strip must be taken into account in any political process - especially in light of the effects of this process on future security arrangements," Livni said, according to a statement issued from her office.