Ma'an News Agency
November 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Ramallah – Ma’an – "I will make decisions as the situation develops," President Mahmoud Abbas told thousands marking the fifth anniversary of Arafat's death on Wednesday, referring to his political future and role in the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking from the presidential compound in Ramallah, Abbas laid out for the assembled crowd the parameters of his political program, which seemingly leaves little room for movement unless progress comes from other sides.

Abbas said he would continue to refuse peace talks with Israel unless Israeli leadership put a halt to settlement construction in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. He also said he would refuse a state with temporary boundaries, explaining "a state with temporary boundaries exists as a choice within the Roadmap plan, but we are declining to take that choice."

The outgoing president also gave continued support to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's August plan to develop state institutions as part of a two-year plan that would see Palestine declare unilateral statehood with international backing. "The Palestinian state is a fact which the world recognizes," Abbas said, noting "more than a hundred countries of the world have already recognized that state. Now, we are fighting to get the world to recognize the borders of our nation."

Hinting at a second avenue for change in the political arena, Abbas noted that peace talks with a clear start date, clear goals and a clear end date would be considered, noting, "Palestinians only need peace to solve their issues."

Throughout the speech, Abbas reiterated his Thursday announcement, when he told Palestinians he would not run for reelection in the upcoming Palestinian Presidential vote, called to be held on 24 January.


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