Abbas Reiterates Readiness to Resume Talks with Israel

Jericho, Palestine, 12 Safar 1438/12 November 2016 (MINA) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he was “ready” to resume peace talks with Israel if the latter accepts a “two-state solution” based on 1967 borders.

“We were ready for direct peace talks with the Israeli government a long time ago,” Anadolu Agency qquoted Abbas as saying at a joint press conference held with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the West Bank city of Jericho.

“This was confirmed [earlier this year] when Russia invited us to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow and we accepted the invitation immediately,” he said.

Abbas added, however, that the “real question” was “what we would negotiate with the Israeli side”.

“Netanyahu must understand that there can be no peace unless he embraces the two-state solution,” Abbas said. “He must state explicitly that he is committed to a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.”

Abbas also addressed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory this week, saying that “what really matters” is what Trump does once he assumes office on Jan. 20.

“I call on him to accept — and work towards — a two state solution,” he said.

He also reiterated his support for a planned international peace conference in Paris slated for later this year.

Medvedev, for his part, stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to host both Abbas and Netanyahu in Moscow was “still on the table and has been discussed with both parties”.

“Russia did not withdraw the initiative; the two parties can take advantage of it at any time,” he said, adding: “We believe the two-state solution is the only way to bring peace in this land.”

He went on to warn that the collapse of the peace process “may lead to serious consequences”.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed in 2014 over Israel’s refusal to release a group of Palestinian political prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

Since then, all attempts to revive negotiations have failed, due mainly to Israel’s insistence on building Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Palestinian negoJewish-only settlementstiators say such settlement-building must stop before a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)