Abbas-Livni Confab in Amman

November 30, 2011  

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni in Amman on Wednesday to discuss the moribund peace process.

A statement from Abbas’ office published by the official PA news agency WAFA said Abbas told Livni of his continued support for negotiations.

Abbas reportedly told Livni, “the option of peace and negotiations was the only way to achieve the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with the resolution of final status issues including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements and security.”

Observers note, however, that Abbas has insisted on numerous preconditions for talks that would essentially require full Israeli capitulation before negotiations began. Most notably, using the pre-1967 lines as a basis for a future PA state, which would include East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Israel has said it is willing to resume talks without preconditions from either side.

Livni’s office issued its own statement on the meeting, saying the the Kadima chairmwoman had told Abbas to return to the negotiating table.

The statement also said she criticized Abbas’ unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations and warned him that reconciliation talks between Abbas’ Fatah movement and Hamas would allow the Islamist group to “impose its agenda.”

“Do not let Hamas impose its agenda by forming a joint government,” the statement quoted Livni as having told Abbas. “With them you have no chance for peace.”

“Now, before forming a government with Hamas, in the face of the changes in the region and instead of unilateral moves at the UN, it is necessary to open negotiations before it is too late and I call on you to do it before it is too late.”

“The Middle East is changing and the deadlock serves the extremists who exploit the dispute on the streets of the Arab world. We need to act now in partnership against the extremist Islamic forces.”

The statement from Abbas’ office said he assured Livni that the next Palestinian government, to be formed ahead of elections within a year as called for by the unity deal with Hamas, would be a moderate one.

The government will be composed “of technocrats and independents and… will accept previously signed agreements, the principles of two states, be committed to peace and will renounce violence,” he told Livni.

Livni was accompanied by three other Israeli political figures, Tzachi Hanegbi and Haim Ramon, both ex-members of parliament, and Roni Bar-on, a Kadima lawmaker, the Kadima statement said.

Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon blasted Livni for meting with Abbas, joining critics who say opposition figures who say opposition figures have no standing to carry out their foreign policy.

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