Palestinian president explains from London recent developments on negotiations, solution endeavors

Abbas say Saudi monarch for signing Palestinian reconciliation paper in Cairo

Abbas opposed to third intifada, stresses full rights of Palestinians

U.S.” Two-state solution won’t be theme of discussions for good

President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in London on Friday that his government was not interested in US guarantees and denied reports that Arab ministers exerted pressure on him in Washington to resume negotiations with Israel.

"The US continued to contact us and the Israelis, and they intended to give what they call 'guarantees,' but we said frankly that we didn’t want guarantees," Abbas added.

Abbas said US President Barack Obama proposed a freeze to settlement construction, yet failed to convince Israel to halt settlement activity completely. Obama's suggestion, he said, was a moratorium which is unacceptable, being only a partial standstill for 10 months, excluding Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.

The PA, according to Abbas, gave to suggestions on how to restart negotiations with Israel. The first suggestion necessitated a decisive moratorium for a given period, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and all Palestinian territories. Additionally, Israel must recognize the 1967 borders, he said.

The second suggestion was to discuss all issues, including final status issues, which was undertaken with the former Israeli government, but nothing followed such talks, Abbas added.

Abbas also highlighted that the US suggested "proximity talks" but "we, the Palestinian side, didn’t give an official reply, which will be given in 10 days after consulting with Arab and ally countries," he said.

Meanwhile, Abbas added, Obama gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu five steps to be taken in order to rebuild trust with the Palestinians. Firstly, all military incursions into the West Bank must be brought to halt, as they can no longer be justified while security measures are imposed solely by the PA. Secondly, all military checkpoints erected during the second intifada must be dismantled, as there is neither an uprising nor security chaos, he said.

The third step includes the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Abbas highlighted that Hamas is currently negotiating the release of one Israeli prisoner for potentially hundreds of Palestinian detainees, while the PA transfers all Israeli citizens illegally in the West Bank back to Israeli military officials.

Israel must allow the transfer of construction material into the Gaza Strip for reconstruction, and finally, Israel is to redefine the Palestinian areas A, B and C in order to allow Palestinians to move freely.

Abbas further told reporters in London that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to sign the Egyptian-backed reconciliation agreement in any place other than Egypt.

"I support your stance that you can’t ignore Egypt because that would be immoral," King Abdullah told Abbas.

Abbas confirmed his support for popular resistance; however, he said he is against the launching of a third Palestinian Intifada. "I don’t want to destroy the country again."

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro D. Wolff told the Security Council on Wednesday that accepting a two-state solution is the only way to immediately resume negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

"Waiting to resume talks benefits no one," he said. "The status quo does nothing to meet the legitimate needs of Israelis or Palestinians."

The 15-nation Council met on Wednesday to discuss the Middle East question, a monthly ritual in which countries urge both sides to resume talks.

Ultimately, good-faith negotiations will be able to reconcile the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders, said Wolff.

The U.S., which is a member of the Quartet, sent National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell to the Middle east region this month but with nothing new to report.

Nabil Shaath, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a recent statement that the U.S. is trying to exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume negotiations with Israel without a halt to settlement construction.

However, Wolff told the Security Council that "a freeze on settlement activity is an Israeli obligation under the Roadmap, and U.S. policy on this remains unchanged."

"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," he said but added that Israel's 10-month freeze on construction is a "significant step that could have a meaningful effect on the ground."

Israel's temporary freeze on settlement building pertains to the West Bank but not to the eastern part of Jerusalem where Palestine wants to build its capital.

"We disagree with some Israeli actions in Jerusalem affecting Palestinians in areas such as housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes," said Wolff. "Neither party should take actions that could unilaterally preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations."

The American ambassador reiterated the U.S. two-pronged approach which encourages Israel and Palestine to resume talks and provides aid to Palestinians for the construction of their economy and institutions.

"The two objectives are mutually reinforcing," he said. "Each is essential, and neither can be attained without the other."

In Gaza, the humanitarian situation continues to be in an abysmal state. A key component of international support for the Palestinian people comes through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

As UNRWA's largest single donor, the U.S. provided more than 267 million U.S. dollars in 2009, including more than 116 million U.S. dollars to the general fund, which still faces severe and chronic shortfalls-estimated at 140 million U.S. dollars for this 2010, said Wolff.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Jordanian King Abdullah II Monday and they discussed efforts to get peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians underway, the White House said.

In addition to the long-delayed talks, the two also discussed Obama's Middle East Envoy George Mitchell's latest trip to the region, and "several areas of mutual interest."

Obama expressed his appreciation for Jordan's staunch support for a two-state solution and comprehensive peace in the region, and told Abdullah he considers Jordan to be an integral partner of the United States.

Mitchell went to the Middle East region last month, trying to coax Israelis and Palestinians back to the talks. When he met with Abdullah, the two discussed means on how to overcome impediments against the resumption of negotiations.

The peace talks have been stalled for more than a year as construction of Jewish settlement on Israeli-occupied lands continues. Palestinians demand a complete freeze of Israeli settlement activities before resuming peace talks.