Monday, November 05, 2007

Abbas hopeful for peace deal before end of Bush's term

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that there is a "real possibility" for achieving a peace deal with Israel, but also called on Israel to start meeting some of its short-term peace obligations, such as a settlement freeze. Abbas spoke at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"I agree with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that there is a real possibility to achieve peace, and I say we are serious to use this opportunity to reach this historical peace," Abbas said.

Abbas said he has received "encouraging signs" from Israel and the US, but expects tough going in the negotiations.

He said Israel, the US and the Palestinians agreed that they should try to reach a peace deal before the end of US President George W. Bush's term in a year.
He called on Israel to begin immediately meeting its obligations under the first stage of the "road map" peace plan. The plan requires Israel to freeze settlement construction, remove illegal settlement outposts and ease Palestinian movement.
Abbas said the Palestinians are ready to do their part, including trying to disarm Palestinian terrorists.

Rice said that Israel and the Palestinians were "moving toward an understanding" that the Annapolis conference could be a forum to restart long-stalled peace talks.
Speaking at the news conference with Abbas, Rice also said she was "tremendously impressed by the seriousness" Israeli and Palestinian leaders have shown in moving toward renewed peace talks.

"I'm quite confident that the will is there on both sides that people want to end this conflict," she added.

Comment: why is it that only Abbas is making demands upon us such as settlement freeze? We always just"take it" when the demands are made for fear of upsetting him and his allies-so goes the thinking. However, he and our enemies can threaten us, demand from us and chide us without fear of negative reaction also known as not having a backbone!

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