Ma'an News Agency
August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel would be fully responsible if negotiations fail as a result of settlement expansion, as he gave a speech in Ramallah before heading to Washington to relaunch talks.

Talks, which are set to begin on 2 September, will address final status issues including Jerusalem, refugees, prisoners and security among others but that "security must not continue to be a security for the continuation of the occupation and settlements," Abbas said.

The US and international officials have been notified that "Israel will bear sole and full responsibility for the collapse of negotiations should settlement building continue," he added.

"Negotiations must be serious and must ensure the Palestinian people will be relieved from the yoke of occupation," Abbas said, adding that the decision to re-launch direct talks was based on the Quartet's statement after consulting with Palestinian and Arab officials.

The president expressed hope that he would find in Israel a partner for peace and said the Palestinian team was "going into negotiations armed with these principles and obligations which we will not deviate from and we will ask all sides without exceptions to stick to these principles and implement them."

“We will not accept to be drawn gradually to marginal issues to ignore these major issues,” he stressed.

Responding to overwhelming criticism over the PA's decision to re-enter negotiations, Abbas said the Palestinian struggle to end occupation should not become a matter of disagreement with Israel or other sides on the form talks take.

Direct negotiations with Israel were broken off in December 2008 as Israel launched Operation Cast Lead. The US began mediating talks in May 2010, after the so-called "proximity" talks were derailed in March when Israel announced further settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017