Abbas Meets Ban, Reflects on Peace Talks

RAMALLAH, August 15, 2013 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday welcomed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his first visit to Palestine following the UN General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as an a non-member observer state.

Abbas said during the press conference following his meeting with Ban that he had promised in 2012 to return to negotiation’s table and achieve peace with Israel because diplomatic work is the best way to achieve peace.

He stated that peace negotiations have commenced on Wednesday expressing hope that they will be successful.

Abbas commended the efforts of US President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry to revive peace talks and hoped that Israel would free prisoners, stop settlement activities and engage in negotiations.

He thanked Ban for the positive role that he plays along with the UN bodies in Palestine which help to ease the suffering of the Palestinians.

He called for helping the refugees in Syria and congratulated the families of the prisoners, who were released on Tuesday.

Ban also expressed appreciation to Abbas and Kerry’s peace efforts and said that he is very excited that both parties are engaging in direct negotiations.

He affirmed that settlement activities are resulting in increasing the sense of mistrust of the Palestinians in Israel, “It makes the two state solution impossible,” he said.

Ban said that he is very concerned for the 5000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom are on hunger strike and others held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

He also called for ending the Israeli restrictions on movement and finding a solutions for the 5 million Palestinian refugees.

Abbas commented on the outcome of the first negotiations that all issues presented on the table will be discussed such as borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security and prisoners.

He said, “We can’t say from the first round to talk about what happened. We just hope that the coming days will bring answers that we can give to you.”

source: WAFA NEWS