Mahmoud Abbas wants to meet Netanyahu

Aug. 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is willing to meet Israel's prime minister "when there is a need for such a meeting."

"We have no objections to meeting with the Israeli prime minister when there is a need for such a meeting," Abbas told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel quoted Abbas saying,

It is the first time the Palestinian leader has stated publicly his willingness to hold direct negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since September 2010, The Post said.

Despite what is happening in the region, Abbas said the Palestinians seized the opportunity to renew talks with Israel. He expressed hope that Israel is sincere in its intentions to make the talks succeed.

"Palestine has now become a state under occupation. This occupation must end on the basis of a two-state solution on the 1967 borders with a minor swap of lands equal in size and value," Abbas said.

At America's request Israel and the Palestinians resumed talks at the end of July, with several meetings taking place between Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayeh. Negotiations between the sides are to be conducted over a nine-month process.

In the past offers by Netanyahu to meet with Abbas either in Jerusalem or Ramallah went unanswered. There was no Israeli response to Abbas' comments.

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