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Abbas: statehood too close if final-status issues settled
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20:52, April 15, 2008

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said if final-status issues settled with Israel, the Palestinian statehood will be very near.

Abbas made the remarks in Ramallah during a ceremony to launch a housing project targeting low-income employees in his Fatah-dominant West Bank.

"We hope to find solutions to the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, water and security and we do efforts these days with the Israeli side to achieve peace," Abbas told the ceremony, adding "then we can say that the Palestinian statehood is nearer than the space between two bows."

"This is what we are looking to achieve in the near future, but we don't want to give promises because we don't promote illusions; we just want to gives hope to the people," Abbas said.

Abbas' Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel announced resumption of peace talks at a U.S.-hosted conference in Annapolis last November.

Negotiation crews from both sides meet regularly in addition to biweekly meetings between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. However, the talks advance slowly.

Abbas, however, appears optimistic as he hopes to "make peace with our neighbors to establish the independent Palestinian statehood which will live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel."

Abbas, meanwhile, reviewed the PNA efforts in reinforcing security in the West Bank, considering them as part of the measures that help the creation of the statehood. "The modern statehood is built on basic elements, mainly the security... if there is no security, there is no authority."

Abbas also slammed Hamas' control on the Gaza Strip, saying "the coup and the chaos there prevented many projects from being carried out" in the impoverished strip.

"If the situation was safe in Gaza, the development projects would have succeeded, but when the coup ends, these projects will apply on Gaza."

The Islamic Hamas movement routed pro-Abbas forces in June and took over the Gaza Strip.

Source: Xinhua



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