Abbas says to quit if no peace deal reached in 2008

May 19th, 2008 - 8:35 am ICT by admin  

Jerusalem, May 19 (Xinhua) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will resign if he fails to reach a peace agreement with Israel by 2009, Israeli lawmaker Yossi Beilin’s office has said. Abbas made the remarks Sunday during a meeting with Beilin, a strong proponent for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where US President George W. Bush met with several Middle East leaders in efforts to push forward the sluggish peace process.

“I didn’t take the presidency upon myself in order to serve the role of president but rather to pursue a mission, and I have no point in continuing in this capacity if it becomes apparent that we can’t reach peace,” Abbas said, which was quoted by a statement released by Beilin’s office.

Abbas added that Israel will not have a better negotiation partner than the current leadership of the Palestinian National Authority, which “believes the Palestinian interest is a historic reconciliation with Israel and a Palestinian state alongside it”.

Since Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resumed the long-stalled peace talks and pledged to forge a deal within 2008 at a US-hosted conference in Annapolis, Maryland, the Palestinians have complained that the peace talks are not making progress.

Earlier Sunday, Abbas repeated his pessimism regarding the peace negotiations, saying the two sides “have not reached an agreement on any issue” and “any report indicating otherwise in simply not true”.

He also warned that failure to reach a peace deal “would be a tremendous victory” for the extremist groups in the region, which would left Israel “with no partner at all”.

Before wrapping up his five-day visit in the Middle East Sunday, Bush also said he remained committed to striking an agreement before he leaves office early next year.

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