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Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister skeptical over peace talks with Israel

September 22, 2013, 2:15 UTC+3

"I don’t see any possibility for things to move forward," he said in an interview

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Vitaliy Belousov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Vitaliy Belousov

OTTAWA, September 22 (Itar-Tass) - Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has voiced skepticism over peace talks with Israel.

“Frankly speaking, as long as this kind of unbalanced situation exists, I don’t see any possibility for things to move forward,” he said in an interview published by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. “When you see Palestine as a state under occupation and Israel as the occupying power, who are dictating terms, who are doing things on the ground to weaken the ability of the Palestinian President, especially in the eyes of his own people.”

He said he saw little hope for the peace talks, since Israel’s day-to-day behaviour showed it did not really want to negotiate a two-state solution. To illustrate his words, he cited recent arrest raids in Palestinian refugee camps and approval of new East Jerusalem settlement homes. “That indicates the Israelis want to weaken Mr. Abbas’s capacity to negotiate, and prefer the status quo,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, what are your options? Your options are very much limited,” he noted. “And when the international community, represented by the U.S. administration tells you, ‘Look, we want to see if it’s possible to resume talks that will lead ultimately to ending the Israeli occupation and to allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state according to 1967 borders, you say, ‘Okay, let’s see if that’s really possible, or not.’”

The Palestinian diplomat also expressed skepticism that the “international community” can really apply pressure to broker a deal, since at the moment, much of attention is directed toward nearby Syria.

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