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Abbas: We’ll Be Back at the Negotiating Table Soon

By Hana Levi Julian
December 18, 2006

Buoyed by his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair,Fatah and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas vowed to bring the PA back to the negotiating table to talk peace with Israel.

Blair visited with Abbas in Ramallah on Monday before meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipy Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem.

Abbas told Blair during their discussion that he was “willing to meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the near future and begin serious and mutual negotiations to bring the conflict to an end.”

He added that he would carry out his promise to dissolve the current Hamas-led PA government and hold new elections despite the bloody clashes in the streets of Gaza as Fatah and Hamas supporters vie for control of the PA.

“We are going to hold early elections, parliamentary and presidential. There is nothing we can see that can stop us,” said Abbas.

The Hamas terror organization trounced Abbas’ Fatah faction in the January elections, winning control of the PA government by a landslide but sending the population into a tailspin of unpaid salaries and compromised civil services.

The international community froze funding to the Hamas-led PA due to the terrorist group’s refusal to formally recognize the State of Israel, renounce violence and uphold interim peace agreements with Israel signed by the previous (Fatah-led) PA government.

Hamas has continued to refuse to accede to the demands, despite the devastation its decision has wrought. More than 160,000 civil service workers have not been paid for months, health service workers are on strike and clinics are only open for emergency treatment and that only sporadically.

“We are a democratic people, so let’s go to the people,” he told Blair. “We want to examine the will of the people. Do they still trust those they have chosen?”

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