Interview with Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, shared with Russia Today his views on the ways of resolving the current Palestinian crisis.

Russia Today: It has been reported that Ehud Olmert is going to offer the establishment of a Palestinian state on most of the territory of Gaza and West Bank in exchange of retaining Jewish settlement blocks. Can you comment on this?

Mahmoud Abbas: All these news have been leaked by the Israeli media. So we cannot comment on some news coming from Haaretz or any other newspaper. We have to wait and meet with Mr Olmert, and after that we will see whether there is an offer or not.

RT: But is there progress in the negotiations?

M.A.: I can admit that there is some sort of progress concerning the current issues. We try to talk about the political horizon in general, but till now we did not go into the depth of the issues which should be handled in order to be called as the final status issues.

RT: When can we expect any signing?

M.A.: We have every other week meetings between Mr Olmert and myself and, of course, we will have another meeting maybe in August, and we will see whether these issues will be presented on the table between us. I hope it will be presented but what the results will be I do not know till now.

RT: On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Minister talked with the Head of Hamas and the leader of Hamas said that there are no obstacles to the negotiations between Fatah and Hamas. Do you see any obstacles?

M.A.: I believe that Hamas has committed a coup d'etat against the Palestinian legitimacy. They should change everything, they should return everything to the beginning, as it was before, and only after that the dialogue will be possible.

RT: In your view, when we talk about the Middle East, is the peace process there something that  outsiders can help with, or  is it something that can be found only within the Middle East?

M.A.: In the beginning, it should be followed between the parties themselves but of course, we will be in need of the help of the international community. We are in need for the help of the Quartet, we are in need of the help of the regional powers, and of course, we are in need of the help of our friends to follow up, and to push the peace process, to push all the parties in order to reach a conclusion on the peace process.