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PALESTINE - Jan 14 - Abbas Rules Out Plan For Interim State.

The PA president pre-empts emerging pressure to accept an interim Palestinian state with temporary borders. Mahmoud Abbas told Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, a comprehensive peace treaty was the only realistic solution to the conflict with Israel. Ms Rice was in Ramallah in the West Bank as part of a Middle East tour to drum up regional support for US Pres Bush's new Iraq policy. A breakthrough in the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process might encourage Washington's Arab allies in the region to help in a resolution of the Iraq crisis. Before Jan 14 meetings, reports suggested the State Department was pushing the plan for a transitional state and that Ms Rice would raise these ideas. However, she denied on her way to the region she was bringing a new peace plan, possibly in view of Abbas's previously stated opposition. The temporary borders idea was earlier proposed by Tzipi Livni, Israeli foreign minister, whom Ms Rice met in Jerusalem on Jan 14 evening. The Palestinians are wary of an interim deal that might leave them with a truncated state and with the difficult issues of refugees and the status of Jerusalem unresolved. Abbas said at a joint press conference with Ms Rice: We reaffirmed to Secretary Rice our rejection of any temporary or transitional solutions, including a state with temporary borders, because we don't see it as a realistic option". It is a view he shares with the PA's Hamas government, presently engaged in an internal power struggle with Abbas's Fatah movement. Without naming Hamas, the PA president told Ms Rice on Jan 14 he still hoped to establish a national unity government with other factions before he would resort to new elections. However, he described as premature reports he would meet Khaled Mashaal, the exiled Hamas leader, in Damascus next weekend. The PA's Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh, on Jan 13 called on all factions to pursue talks, claiming US policy was aimed at preventing the emergency of a national unity government. A similar unity call was issued last week by Marwan Barghouti, Fatah's influential former West Bank militia leader, who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail.
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Title Annotation:Mahmoud Abbas
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7PALE
Date:Jan 19, 2007
Previous Article:JORDAN - Jan 19 - Jordan Weighs Nuclear Programme.
Next Article:PALESTINE - Jan 16 - Hamas Denies Gaza Tunnels Dug to Kill Fatah Leaders.

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