TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview aired Tuesday a three-year transition period for the West Bank was all he could accept.
Israel's stated position, favoring a 10- to 50-year transition that includes an Israeli military presence in the West Bank, was unacceptable, and Abbas said "whoever proposes 10 or 15 years for a transition" was not serious about an agreement.
His videotaped comments, made in December, were screened at the annual conference of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies Tuesday in Tel Aviv.
"A transitional period cannot exceed three years, during which Israel can withdraw gradually. We are willing to allow a third party to take Israel's place, during and after withdrawal to soothe our concerns and Israel's," Abbas said.
Abbas has suggested NATO in the past as a third party, but Israel has objected to a third-party presence, saying it must retain a long-term presence in the Jordan Valley. Israel's stance is a sticking point in negotiations, the Jerusalem Post noted Tuesday.
Abbas' comments about a transition period, although mentioned in the past by Palestinian negotiators, are the most specific on the topic to date, the New York Times said.