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Abbas vows to put any peace deal to a referendum

July 22, 2013 1:56 A.M. (Updated: July 24, 2013 9:50 A.M.)
AMMAN (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said any future peace deal with Israel will be put to a referendum, in remarks published Monday, four days after Washington announced the resumption of negotiations.

"Any agreement with the Israelis will be brought to a referendum," Abbas told Jordanian government-owned Al-Rai newspaper.

"The United States is serious about reaching a political solution to the Palestinian cause by establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital."

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed to meet to prepare a resumption of direct peace talks, stalled since 2010.

"Any security solution must permanently get Israel out of Palestinian land, while the Jewish state has the right to preserve its security within its borders, with the approval of neighboring countries," Abbas told Al-Rai.

"We want a two-state solution and this idea exists among the US administration. But until now we have not achieved anything."

Abbas praised excellent relations with Jordan and thanked King Abdullah II for his unlimited support.

The last round of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010 over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Kerry on Friday gave away very little about the initial agreement.

Israeli officials have hailed it as a "success" as it did not entail the Palestinian "preconditions" of a freeze on settlement construction or the pre-1967 borders as a basis for negotiations.

But Abbas has repeatedly stressed his demands for a freeze on settlement building on occupied land and release of prisoners held by Israel must be met before the talks can resume.

"We stress our position that settlements have been illegal since 1967," Abbas said in the interview published on Monday.
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