Peres: Abbas peace partner with Israel

May 9, 2011 at 7:07 AM
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JERUSALEM, May 9 (UPI) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres says he won't turn his back on peace talks because of a Fatah-Hamas accord signed last week.

Peres said while he criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for signing the accord, Abbas "absolutely" is still a peace partner with Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

Peres said his criticism of Abbas for signing the accord "doesn't free me of the need to talk with him … I have no intention of turning my back on the Palestinian peace camp, even if I criticize it."

Peres said if the world recognizes a Palestinian state without addressing Israel's security, it would mean a "continuation of the conflict."

Abbas remains a partner in the peace talks "because he wants to hold negotiations for peace with Israel … he opposes violence and he wants peace," Peres said.

Peres said the international community should hold firm to preconditions it set for legitimizing Hamas and that Islamists recognize Israel, accept previous agreements and renounce terrorism.

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