Ma'an News Agency
September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

"It is time to make peace, it is time to end the occupation that began in 1967, and for the Palestinian people to achieve their freedom, independence and justice," President Mahmoud Abbas said from the White House moments after a second shooting attack against settlers in the West Bank.

"We condemned what happened today. We do not want any drop of blood to be shed neither from Palestinians nor Israelis. We want peace between our two peoples. We want to live as partners and neighbors. Let us sign a final peace agreement and end, forever, a long era of conflict," Abbas said.

"It is time to end the conflict in the Middle East region permanently,” the Palestinian leader continued at a news conference following a working dinner where he met face to face with Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time, alongside leaders from Jordan and Egypt as well as Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair and US envoy George Mitchell.

Condemning the two attacks, which killed four Israeli settlers near Hebron on Tuesday night and injured two others near Ramallah the day after, Abbas reaffirmed, “We come to the negotiations fully determined, sincere and serious to ensure their success.”

Following Abbas' statement, Obama commented, "We have a long road ahead, but I appreciate very much the leaders who are represented here for giving us such an excellent start."

On Thursday, officials will gather for a news conference at 10 a.m. EST ahead of the first round of direct talks.

US President Barack Obama is expected to deliver his first update to the progress of the talks on Thursday evening.


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