Sunday, April 27, 2008

Abbas to leave Washington "empty handed"

By Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agenices, April 26, 2008

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that his talks with the US President, George Bush, and US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, have failed in achieving any positive results.

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Abbas stated that the talks failed to address the core issues of an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders and a halt of Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

The president added that he will be heading back to the Palestinians territories “with no, or little to show”.

Israeli Ynetnews reported that Abbas told the Associated Press that it does not seem that a peace deal would be achieved with Israel this year.

He added that one of the biggest obstacles in front of peace talks is the issue of Israel’s ongoing expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

“We demanded the US Administration to implement the first phase of the Road Map Peace Plan which talks about halting settlement expansion”, Abbas stated, “This issue is the biggest obstacle that obstructs peace talks”.

Close aides to Abbas said that he was upset on Thursday after he had lunch with the US Secretary Of State. Both were discussing the shape of the peace deal, but Rice said nothing about the Palestinian demand of creating an independent Palestinians State”.

Abbas also said that the US Administration did not offer any new proposals to advance the peace process.

So far, Israel refuses to hold talks on the final borders of the Palestinian State, Jerusalem and the Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees. Yet, Israeli leaders always said that Jerusalem will always be the “united capital of Israel”, and they continue to reject talks on the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, and refuse to talk on border issues.

It is worth mentioning that Israel is the only sovereign state that does not have set borders as it continues to expand its settlement blocks in the West Bank, and continues to construct the illegal annexation wall in order to create a its own version of a peace deal.

On Thursday, chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said that Abbas brought the Palestinian objections to Bush, but the later did not respond directly, the Ynetnews reported. Abbas was informing Bush of the Palestinian objections on the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion.

The Ynetnews quoted Erekat as saying that “Bush told Abbas…I am focusing on the bigger scope”.

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