Abbas: Peace talks stalled, may terminate early

Ahead of Kerry’s arrival, PA president dismisses American demand that Palestinians refrain from seeking international recognition

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, September 1, 2013 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, September 1, 2013 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said there has been no progress in peace talks with Israel despite months of negotiations, and warned that “the situation is likely to explode soon.”

“There hasn’t been any advancement in the talks with the Israelis until now despite all the meetings between the sides,” Abbas said in a speech delivered in Ramallah, adding that the situation between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators has only worsened.

Abbas’s remarks came a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was set to visit the region and meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Responding to Israel’s approval of 1,700 apartment units over the Green Line earlier this week, Abbas said “the Israelis justify the expansion of settlements by releasing prisoners. They link the two issues, [and such linkage] is likely to bring about the termination of the talks, without results.”

Abbas dismissed American demands not to turn to international bodies for redress during the nine-month time frame for negotiations that began in late July. He nonetheless suggested the Palestinians wouldn’t turn to the United Nations for statehood recognition, but added that “this step is the matter of the Palestinians alone and no one can force a policy on the Palestinians on this issue.”

Earlier on Monday, Palestinian media quoted senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo as saying that Israel was not engaging earnestly in peace talks with the PA.

“There is one party negotiating, and that is us, while the other party is not proposing anything that goes in line with international legitimacy and law,” Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio.

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