Abbas ready to resume talks if Israel retracts annexation plan

RAMALLAH, July 25, 2019 (Xinhua) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 25, 2019. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday declared that the Palestinian leadership has decided to stop abiding by the signed agreements between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, in line with former decisions taken by Palestinian National and Central Councils. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

Ramallah, July 24 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he was willing to resume peace negotiations with Israel as soon as the latter retracts its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

In a phone call with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Thursday, Abbas expressed appreciation for Norway’s principled support of the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its rejection of any unilateral steps that disregard international law, reports Xinhua news agency.

Abbas said that Palestine “is ready to engage in serious negotiations with the Israeli government the moment it refrains from its unilateral annexation plan, to be sponsored by the Quartet and any other countries of the world”.

The Palestinian leader briefed Solberg on the latest developments in Palestine, and the consequences of the Israeli plan to annex portions of the occupied West Bank.

He thanked Norway for its generous support and economic aid provided to the Palestinian national institutions since 1993.

For her part, Solberg expressed Norway’s support to achieving peace on the basis of the two-state solution, and its commitment to implement the international resolutions.

She reaffirmed that her country will continue to play its role in sponsoring the annual donor conference to help the Palestinian people build their institutions and economy.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

But it remained unclear whether the Israeli government intends to follow through with the plans to apply Israeli law over contentious territories in the West Bank and to what extent.

The Palestinians, who claim all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, have rejected the idea.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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