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Abbas Still Committed to Negotiations with Israel

OSLO, July 18 (Xinhua) — Visiting Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he remains committed to the Middle East peace process and is ready to resume negotiations with Israel.

At a joint press conference with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in Oslo, Abbas said “We have tried to achieve and will continue to achieve peace with Israel through negotiations.”

(Courtesy: Xinhua/AFP)

“We would like to express our readiness to go back and resume negotiations” with Israel, said Abbas.

Meanwhile, the decision has been taken to seek UN membership for the state of Palestine, which will be established on the 1967 lines and with East Jerusalem as capital, said Abbas.

“Our people are demanding an immediate solution to the problem which has been with us for the past 60 years. Our people are suffering,” said Abbas, adding that to seek for UN membership is not an alternative to negotiations with Israel.

The United States has so far not given an official response to the Palestinian bid for UN membership without a negotiated settlement with Israel beforehand.

“If we fail in the UN Security Council, we will then take it to the (UN) General Assembly” for a vote, said Abbas.

Abbas, who arrived here on Sunday night on a visit seeking Norwegian support to his proposals, said that he hopes Norway will recognize the state of Palestine on the 1967 lines and continue to give support to the Palestinian people in their endeavor for an independent state.

The Palestinian president also took the occasion to call upon all the nations or states which have not yet recognized the state of Palestine to do so and support efforts for justice, peace and stability in the Middle East region.

Stoere urged the Palestinians and Israel to resume negotiations.

“Come back to the negotiating table to deal with the outstanding issues,” said the Norwegian foreign minister.

Norway also encourages the Quartet to provide a framework by which the two parties in the conflict can be supported to get back to the table, said Stoere.

Stressing that no vote in itself can settle outstanding issues, the Norwegian foreign minister said the Palestinian president “has strongly committed himself to negotiations which I think is absolutely a right thing and a responsible thing to do.”

Stoere pledged to “consider very carefully the proposed text that might be put forward by the Palestinian side in the coming weeks” in the spirit of being friends to both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and a staunch supporter in the Palestinians’ right to independence and statehood.

“We will then take our decision when it comes to potential votes as we get close to the end of September,” said Stoere.

Israel has been reluctant to come back to the negotiating table since negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides broke down last year.

Abbas said that he believes Israel has no alternatives and will eventually agree to resume negotiations.



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