May 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Saeb Erekat says Palestinians encouraged by Obama administration's commitment to peace in the Middle East; Chief Palestinian negotiator says Israel's credibility undermined 'over failure to live up to previous obligations'

The Palestinians are encouraged by President Barack Obama's vision, which is based on the two-state solution, Chief PA Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Friday.


"The Americans and Palestinians have a shared interest…the same vision of peace based on the two-state solution," Erekat said in the wake of Thursday's meeting between Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.


"The Palestinians are encouraged by the commitment shown by Obama and his administration to peace in the Middle East," Erekat was quoted as saying by news agency Ma'an. "The establishment of a viable Palestinian state, which lives with peace and security alongside Israel, and a just solution to the question of Palestinian refugees, would lead to a more stable and safer Middle East."


The Palestinian negotiator stressed that Israel must live up to obligations it made in previous agreements, adding that the peace process would not survive another round of failed contacts.


"The process lives on borrowed time," he said. "The Israeli failure to live up to its obligations undermines its credibility, and the ongoing construction in the settlements undermines the very possibility of a two-state solution."



Erekat claimed that the PA made "great progress" in respect to living up to past obligations, and called for a complete halt to settlement construction, including "natural growth," and for a removal of all limitations on Palestinian movement in the West Bank.


Turning his attention to Gaza, Erekat said: "Israel must put immediate end to the blockade and collective punishment it imposes on all Gaza residents. We must not allow the Palestinians there to suffer anymore."



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