Abbas: We want to take our chance for peace
Published Saturday 24/08/2013 (updated) 31/08/2013 21:37
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Abbas said Saturday that the Palestinian Authority is hopeful of achieving peace through negotiations.
"To us, when we have a chance of negotiating we will take advantage of it, without looking to our surroundings," Abbas said in a press conference after meeting with the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
"We are now negotiating with the Israeli side, and we do not mind meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a time when such a meeting is needed.
I assure the Palestinian goodwill in negotiations, and we hope that Israelis share the same goodwill by stopping settlements and releasing prisoners," he added.
Palestinians must unite to achieve peace despite the turmoil in the region, and presidential and legislative elections must take place when the conditions are ready, Abbas said.
The president thanked the EU for its position on settlement products and a ban on funding for Israeli settlements, a move which helped the PA return to the negotiating table.
"In a particularly troubled regional environment, it is even more important that we advance towards peace here," Fabius said.
"If these negotiations are successful, it will be a thunderbolt for peace...a great stabilizing element."
Speaking in Amman on Saturday after talks with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said he expected the next round to take place "in a few days from now."
"On all sides, particularly that of the United States, there are elements which are serious and encouraging regarding the success of the negotiations," official Jordanian news agency Petra quoted him as saying.
"We declare to anyone near or far that upon the instructions of President Mahmoud Abbas we will not inform the Israeli side of our position before it's approved by our brothers in Jordan," Erekat told Ma'an.
"No one in this world is as keen to have a Palestinian state as Jordan," he added.
Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they expect the talks to be held early next week in the West Bank town of Jericho.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators formally resumed direct peace talks earlier this month after a hiatus of nearly three years, thanks to an intense bout of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
They are expected to last about nine months.
AFP contributed to this report