RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said plans are under way to declare an independent Palestinian state next year.
Fayyad made the comments in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera Thursday, The Jerusalem Post said.
"The deadline is next summer, when the Israeli occupation of the West Bank must end," Fayyad told the newspaper. "In 2011 we will celebrate 66 years of the United Nations and the United Nations will celebrate the birth of our nation," he was quoted as saying.
Fayyad stressed the importance of forming national institutions in the West Bank ahead of statehood.
He said he envisions the Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza unifying for the national cause, despite the differences. He told the newspaper that next week he plans to visit Gaza.
"The people of Gaza must be involved in our national project," he said, noting, "There are gaps between us, it's true, but the real gap is the wall that closes off the Strip."