Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas stated that the Palestinian Authority believes in a two-state solution that would ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, and that this solution is the best for the future of the two peoples.During a press conference with Finland’s President, Tarja Halonen, at the Presidential headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas said that the P.A. believes in this solution, and in a Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and stability.
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Halonen, Abbas said that the Palestinian leadership recognized the state of Israel in 1993 during what was known as “mutual recognition” between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
“So our stance is that we recognize Israel”, he said, “but if the Israelis want to call themselves any other name, then they should talk to the U.N. and the International Community”.
Abbas was referring to the Israeli demand that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The Palestinian President also voiced an appeal to the International Community to stop Israel’s settlement activities so that peace talks on the future of the region, Jerusalem, settlements and the refugees could be resumed.
He added that during their summit in Libya, Arab leaders decided to grant the peace process another chance as they gave the United States a month to convince Israel to halt all of its settlement activities.
“If this happens we will go to the negotiations, we will start talks on borders and security”, Abbas stated. “This is what we hope to do”.
Abbas further stated that he told Halonen that the Palestinians will not abandon their legitimate rights, and that they want to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.
He accused Israel of placing obstacles and preconditions, and added that Tel Aviv insists on constructing and expanding settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
Abbas thanked U.S. President, Barack Obama, and the U.S. administration “for their involvement in peace talks and the efforts to achieve stability in the region”.
“We want an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital”, Abbas said, “A state that lives in peace with all of its neighbors, including Israel”.
He also thanked Finland for its financial and moral support to the Palestinian people, and urged Israel to end its siege on Gaza so that the reconstruction process can be started, and end the suffering of the people.
On her side, Halonen said that Finland is committed to supporting the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to create the foundations of the future Palestinian State.
She vowed that her country will continue its efforts to ensure the resumption of the peace process, adding that Middle East peace is a Finnish interest as well as an interests for the European Union.
She also declared that the European Union will be granting the Palestinian Authority one million Euros in addition to the already pledged 13 million, in order to support education, health services and security.
Halonen further stated that the Finnish Foreign Minister will be holding a humanitarian visit to Gaza in order to observe the situation there. She did not specify a date this visit.