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Abbas: No Israeli presence in future Palestinian state

Jan. 20, 2014 5:29 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2014 10:46 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that there will be no official Israeli presence in the future Palestinian state, rejecting demands that Israeli forces retain military bases as part of a peace agreement.

"We want an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital that includes all the lands that were occupied in 1967 and that lives side by side with Israel in security and stability," Abbas said in a joint press conference with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper in Ramallah.

"Anything else said or interpreted on our behalf matters only to those who interpret it," he added, dismissing rumors that he had agreed to concessions in ongoing negotiations with Israel.

Abbas thanked Canada for the aid it sends to Palestinians and said he hoped for the improvement of bilateral relations between the two nations.

Abbas said that he briefed Harper on peace negotiations and reiterated the Palestinian position on a future state.

The president said he respected the Canadian decision to vote against the Palestinian state in the UN, explaining that Canada is "an independent sovereign state, and it's their right to decide what it wants and to recognize who it wants,"

Canada is a close ally to the state of Israel, but gives large amounts of aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Canada was strongly against Palestine's bid to join the United Nations as a state in 2012, and was one of only nine countries to vote against it.
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