Abbas aide: Let's declare independence

Feb. 20, 2008 at 3:27 PM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A top Palestinian official, arguing that Israel is stalling peace negotiations, said the Palestinian Authority should declare independence as Kosovo did.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Voice of Palestine Radio that he does not expect any agreement with Israel this year, Voice of America reported.

Abbas and Israeli officials disagreed. Abbas, in a statement, said he does expect an agreement by the end of the year.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said that unilateral independence has never been brought up in the negotiations.

"It is not going to be easy," Regev said about the talks. "The issues on the table are difficult, but with hard work, and if both sides come to the table and are willing to make compromises, I believe it is possible to have such a deal. "

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