The President of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that he is ready to return to the negotiation table with the Israelis if they recognise a Palestinian state along pre-1967 borders. In a press conference after his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah on Wednesday, January 25, Abbas declared, "If we can set the borders, we can return to negotiations, but Israel does not want to do that." With regards to security arrangements, the President said that he is ready for any requests from Israel provided that no Israeli is left on Palestinian territory.
Announcing that the exploratory meetings between the Israelis and Palestinians in Amman will be followed by a Palestinian meeting with the Arab Follow-up Committee on 4 February, Mr Abbas noted that the biggest obstacle to the resumption of negotiations remains Israel's settlements, especially in Occupied Jerusalem. Attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinian citizens and their property are also a major issue, he added.
According to Abbas, the 10-day visit made by Jordan's monarch to the United States was aimed at pushing the peace process forward and enabled the King to convince many in the US Administration about the Arab stance and the importance of his country's role.
In response, Israeli sources said that Tel Aviv is concerned and ready to continue talks with the Palestinians on all issues.
President Abbas was speaking after the fifth and final exploratory meeting between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat and the Israeli Prime Minister's envoy, Yitzhak Molcho.