No progress on key issues in talks with Israel: Palestine

August 11th, 2008 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  


Ramallah, Aug 11 (Xinhua) Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei Monday said the ongoing peace talks with Israel have made no progress on the key outstanding issues. “The negotiations are going on seriously and they are difficult, but we did not reach an agreement on the ‘final status’ issues, namely, the status of Jerusalem, the return of refugees and borders,” Qurei told reporters here.

The staggered peace talks resumed last November at the Annapolis conference in the United States.

The Palestinians and the US hope to reach a deal on a Palestinian state alongside Israel before US President George W. Bush quits the White House in January at the end of his tenure in office.

“The Palestinian people and their leadership have their clear ambitions and demands: a free and independent statehood in which our rights are reserved and our freedom is maintained with Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” Qurei said.

Qurei accused Israel of hindering the efforts of establishing a Palestinian state comprising the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Since the Annapolis conference, Israel increased its settlement activities in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians consider as their future capital, and in the West Bank, leaving rounds of talks going in vain.

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