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Abbas: Israel document 'worthless' to talks

Jan. 22, 2012 7:50 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2012 10:38 P.M.)
MOSCOW (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Israel's response to a Palestinian proposal on borders and security as requested by Quartet negotiators was "worthless".

Speaking to TV channel Russia Today during his the final leg of his European tour, Abbas said his visit to British, German and Russian leaders was not intended to "isolate or delegitimize Israel," but to look at different routes if current talks between negotiators fail.

"We want to live side-by-side with Israel, but we want to isolate Israeli policy on settlements," he told the program.

Palestinian and Israeli officials met in the Jordanian capital on Saturday, the fourth round of talks since Jan. 3. The international Quartet called for both sides to state their positions on the borders and security arrangements of a future "two-state solution" by Jan. 26, to help open the door to a resumption of full negotiations.

But Palestinian officials insist they cannot return to talks while Israel continues building Jewish-only settlements on lands needed for a viable Palestinian state.

PLO delegates say they handed their proposal to the Israeli side, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had returned a "21-point document that anyone would agree to."

"We negotiate about two issues, borders and security, so what are the 21 cases?" Abbas told Russia Today on Sunday.

"This is absurd and worthless ... these are codes that no one would understand. He said I am providing you with something, but what did he provide me with?"

Abbas called on the US not to veto attempts to stop Israel expanding settlements, after it nixed a UN resolution on settlement building in February 2011.

"We respect the US and we have a good relationship with it ... however we feel that when it comes to this issue, the US is biased towards Israel," the president said.

Abbas also slammed Israel's detention of top Palestinian lawmaker Aziz Dweik on Friday.

"I don't believe Dweik committed a crime deserving punishment... I say out loud his detention is illegitimate."

Abbas arrived in Russia on Thursday, where he has met with religious leaders and President Dmitri Medvedev, announcing that he will name a street in the West Bank city of Jericho after the Russian president.
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