Abbas: Prisoner release 'separate issue' to peace talks
Published Thursday 22/08/2013 (updated) 23/08/2013 13:03
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the release of Palestinians detained by Israel before the 1994 Oslo Accords was a separate issue to the resumption of peace negotiations.
Israel released 26 veteran prisoners hours before peace negotiations resumed earlier in August, and is expected to release the rest of the pre-Oslo prisoners in stages throughout the talks.
The president said the Palestinian Authority is interested in fruitful peace negotiations with Israel to end the conflict, according to state media.
Abbas added that Israel's ongoing settlement activities on occupied Palestinian land "do not provide a favorable atmosphere for the current negotiations," Wafa reported.
Abbas' comments were made at his office during a visit of Israeli Knesset members from the left-wing Meretz party.
Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On said her party remained committed to achieving a just and permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two-state solution.
This solution should result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territory Israel occupied in 1967, Gal-On said.
She added that Meretz supported the recent resumption of peace talks.