Abbas: Israel to blame if talks fail

14:21, August 30, 2010      

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 20, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said Israel would foil peace talks if it continued Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"Israel's government would alone bear the responsibility of threatening the negotiations with failure and collapse if all forms of settlement expansions continued," Abbas said in a televised speech.

The negotiations will restart in Washington on September 2 after months of stillness amid huge opposition by most of Palestinian factions.

Abbas said the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, who represent the Quartet, were told about the Palestinian position that puts any failure on Israel.

He added that the Palestinian leadership accepted the talks after the Quartet issued its August 20 statements in which it retreated its commitment to help creating a Palestinian statehood alongside Israel through negotiations. "The statement stressed on ending the Israeli occupation which started in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and the necessity of an independent Palestinian state and the rejection of settlement and the need to its end," Abbas said.

The direct negotiations would tackle all outstanding issues, Abbas said, noting that these issues include the status of Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want its eastern part as a capital, refugees, borders, settlement, security and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

He defended his decision to go to the talks without guarantees that the settlement would be stopped. "We will not enter into mazes or go to sideline issues that would alter the negotiations from discussing the essential issues," Abbas said in his speech.

Abbas said he hopes to find a partner in the Israeli coalition government "able to make key and responsible decisions towards ending the occupation and making real security for the Palestinian and Israeli people."

Source: Xinhua


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