Abbas: PA open to talks with Liberman, if he 'truly supports' 2-state solution

The PA issued first remarks on Netanyahu's Wednesday affirmation that he is ready to hold peace talks based on a revised version of the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Israel must recognize a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders for any negotiations to move forward, the Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday.
The PA issued its first remarks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's affirmation late Monday that he is ready to hold peace talks based on a revised version of the 2002 Arab peace initiative.
"The Israeli statements regarding the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative must be accompanied by actions on the ground and recognition in an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 lines whose capital is east Jerusalem," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"The Arab Peace Initiative is a part of a UN Security Council resolution and the road map for peace and it cannot be rejected when it is backed by the consensus of all the Arab and Islamic countries," he added.
On Monday, shortly after new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took the oath, Netanyahu surprisingly declared that Israel is prepared to hold peace talks based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
“I remain committed to making peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors,” Netanyahu said in a press conference following the swearing-in ceremony. “The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians.
“We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002, but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”
On Tuesday, Abbas himself lauded the Arab Peace Initiative, saying that: "We need to take advantage of the Arab Peace Initiative to reach an agreement that will enable 57 Arab and Islamic states to normalize their relations with Israel."
Hosting a delegation of Arab and Jewish community leaders in his presidential compound in Ramallah, Abbas related to Liberman's placated statements in which he underscored his support for the two-state solution.
"I do not judge people according to their political affiliation, but according to their stance regarding peace," Abbas said. "If Liberman truly supports the two-state solution, nothing will prevent us from negotiating with him."
"We want every Israeli, whether he affiliates with the left-wing or the right-wing, to believe in peace with Palestinians," he added.
"For more than 20 years we have been working to spread a culture of peace. Our doors are open to all Israelis, because we want to live in peace and freedom like the rest of the people in the world," Abbas concluded.
Gil Hoffman also contributed to this report.