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H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

26 September 2008

Statement Summary

MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, said he would have liked to have announced a comprehensive agreement had been achieved between the Palestinians and Israel that ended Israeli occupation of its land since 1967.  He believed the entire world shared his desire to set the necessary guidelines and principles for the advancement of negotiating towards the conclusion of a comprehensive and complete agreement on all final status issues.  The Annapolis Conference, held last year, had emphasized the need for the removal of all obstacles that had impeded the negotiating process.

The main obstacle was the Israeli settlement campaign and its continuation throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in East Jerusalem.  All participants in Annapolis had taken a united, firm and unprecedented stand calling for the immediate cessation of illegal settlement activities.  The participation of most Arab countries had shown the desire to support the political process, based on the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by the Arab Summit in Beirut more than six years ago.

He renewed his call to all parties, including Israel, regional and international Powers, to seize the opportunity provided by the Arab Peace Initiative.  In this context, he fully supported the indirect negotiations taking place between Syria and Israel with the help of Turkey.  The Authority would continue to negotiate towards a comprehensive peace that would end decades of occupation and hostilities, and attain the two-State solution –- the State of Palestine living alongside the State of Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders.  That would include the achievement of a just and agreed solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees.

Partial or interim solutions, or the dropping or deferral of certain core issues would be unacceptable and unviable, and would maintain the roots of the conflict, he continued.  The solution must also include a mechanism to ensure its full and honest implementation according to an agreed-upon timetable.  That required supervision of the solution’s implementation, and a more effective role of the diplomatic Quartet to safeguard the solution, as well as an effective guarantor role of the Security Council and various United Nations bodies.

As he noted the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said the conditions endured by the Palestinians were increasingly severe and complex.  The territory suffered from fragmentation and contiguity between its cities and villages was being undermined, as a result of more than 609 checkpoints and roadblocks on all main and secondary roads.  The continuing siege and isolation of the Gaza Strip was deepening the tragic humanitarian crisis, where unemployment was endemic and the opportunities of education and medical care were few.  Gaza had become a virtual prison for 1.5 million Palestinians, he said.

He reaffirmed that his Government would spare no effort to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation and unity, and to that end, had announced a preliminary plan that opened the door for reconciliation and the formation of an independent, impartial Government that was acceptable to all.  Further, the Government would prepare for legislative and presidential elections, and continue rebuilding the security apparatus based on professional tenets, with the support of Arab security.  After completing that step, it would be possible to proceed with strengthening reconciliation and deepening the participation of all.

[Source: GA/10756]