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Abbas questions basis for negotiations

Sept. 20, 2011 at 10:23 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he's not opposed to giving negotiations with Israel another try but questioned the basis for such talks.

Palestinian authorities are expected to push for a unilateral statehood initiative at the United Nations this week. Washington promised to veto the measure if it moves before the U.N. Security Council, saying any independent action from the Palestinians undermined ongoing peace efforts with Israel.

Abbas, in an interview with London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, said he wasn't adamantly opposed to negotiations.

"I am not against a return to the negotiating table but on what basis?" he asked.

The so-called Middle East Quartet of the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations met Monday night in an attempt to construct a formula to restart peace talks and stave off a Security Council showdown, diplomats said.

U.S. Republican lawmakers on a House appropriations committee threatened Palestinian aid should Abbas continue with his statehood initiative at the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered to meet with Abbas at U.N. headquarters this week and restart negotiations. Netanyahu in August said that Israel would be willing to resume peace talks based on its 1967 prewar borders if the Palestinians abandoned state recognition efforts and recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

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