Abbas Wants Time Limit for Talks With Israel

CAIRO (AP) -
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa listen to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erikat during an emergency Arab League session in Cairo where they voted to support the Paris peace conference. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa listen to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erikat during an emergency Arab League session in Cairo where they voted to support the Paris peace conference. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said over the weekend that if an upcoming Paris conference succeeds in relaunching the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, it should also set a time cap and mechanisms to implement their resolutions.

Abbas was speaking at an Arab League conference in Cairo, where Arab foreign ministers voted to support France’s Middle East peace initiative.

Abbas also said that the Paris gathering — due June 3 — should also set up a monitoring committee to follow whatever is agreed upon.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of an international conference, saying direct negotiations without preconditions are the only way to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Abbas also demanded that all Palestinians jailed by Israel be released and also said the Palestinians would never recognize a “Jewish” state as Netanyahu has demanded. The Palestinians recognized Israel in 1993, he recounted, and that is sufficient.

He rejected proposals made by Israel that under any future deal Israel would maintain a military presence in Yehudah and Shomron or on the border with Jordan. The Palestinians, he said, would instead accept NATO forces to monitor security in the area.