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Official: Kerry to present framework peace agreement by Dec. 31

Dec. 22, 2013 8:20 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 23, 2013 9:53 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- US Secretary of state John Kerry will present Palestinian and Israeli leaders with a framework peace agreement by the end of the month, an Arab League official said.

Mohammad Sbeih, secretary-general of Palestinian affairs at the Arab League, told Ma'an that Kerry would present a proposed peace agreement by Dec. 31.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas informed the Arab League about the upcoming proposal, saying it would contain US suggestions regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state, Sbeih said.

Abbas told the League that "once he receives the American proposal he will not respond but will present it to Arab nations to make a joint decision."

Sbeih said Abbas articulated his exact position on the peace agreement, which were as follows:

- Abbas would accept a Palestinian state with the entirety of East Jerusalem as its capital, with limited land swaps as long as the lands being traded were of equal value.

- He would accept an incremental withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian land, allowing them up to three years to leave.

- He would reject the idea of any permanent Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, but would welcome an international peacekeeping presence.

- He would refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

- He would reject any interim agreement, calling instead for a final solution.

- He would reject any proposal that required Palestine to be an unarmed state, but said he would not get involved in an "arms race."

Sbeih said the Arab League sent Kerry an urgent message that detailed the League's vision of the peace process.

Abbas was in Egypt Friday and Saturday, where he met with foreign ministers from Arab League countries. He briefed them on the latest developments in peace talks with the Israelis.

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the US after nearly three years of impasse.
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