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Abbas: We will continue negotiations despite continuation of settlements

February 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

The head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, has asserted that the PA will continue with the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on schedule, despite the fact that Israel is expanding its settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In an exclusive interview with Agence France-Presse, Abbas said: “We are committed to continuing the negotiations for a period of nine months, no matter what the facts on the ground are.”

While Abbas acknowledged that the Palestinian negotiating delegation had submitted its resignation, he explained that he has not accepted the resignation: “We have not accepted the resignation of the negotiating delegation, the Palestinian leadership is studying it, as the Palestinian leadership decided to take a longer chance to decide, and until this happens, the delegation will continue with its work in running the negotiations.”

Abbas confirmed that he plans to meet with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who will visit the region next Friday: “Yes we will meet with him, and we meet with him whenever he arrives to the region,” but he stressed that he would not sign any agreement with Israel “if we don’t have guarantees to reach what the Palestinian people are seeking to achieve through these negotiations”.

He emphasized that “the Palestinian people believe in peace and the road to peace is through negotiations, and Palestinians know that we adhere to certain constants: the Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, in addition to the resolution of the refugees issue in accordance with the Arab initiative.”