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President Shimon Peres and PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum May 26, 2013.

From The Jerusalem Post

Peres says Abbas a ‘true partner for peace’ ahead of PA leader’s meeting with Obama

President expresses confidence that Ab-A$$ is the right Palestinian leader to sign a lasting peace deal with Israel; lauds PA president as “a man of principles who opposes violence and terror.”

President Shimon Peres and PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum May 26, 2013. Photo: Mark Neiman/GPO
President Shimon Peres expressed his belief that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a true partner for peace ahead of Abbas’s meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.
“Abu-Mazen (Abbas) is a true partner for peace and a man of principles who opposes violence and terror,” Peres said in a meeting with human rights activists.
“We are currently at the most critical juncture of negotiations and we must do everything in our power to ensure that they continue. There is a clear majority and agreement on two states for two peoples,” the president said.
Peres said that he was happy that it was Abbas who Israel was negotiating with on the Palestinian side, adding that disagreements were a natural part of negotiations. He said that there were also plenty of points that Israel and the Palestinian leader agree on, such as the fight against terrorism.
The president said that his optimism was tempered by worry about the fateful decisions regarding negotiations which are scheduled to be made in the coming weeks. The nine-month period set for negotiations by US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to expire in April. Obama and Kerry are hoping that both the Israelis and Palestinians will agree to continue negotiations on the basis of an American-drafted set of principles known as a framework agreement.
Reports in the Arab media on Sunday claimed that Abbas would make extra demands of Israel as condition for continuing the talks, such as freezing settlement construction and releasing high-profile Palestinian prisoners.
Peres said that he did not believe the sides would have entered into negotiations without the belief that they could eventually yield a peace agreement.
“Negotiating is a difficult process and sometimes it seems as if there are only two choices, but most of the time there are many more options. Negotiating is a creative process. We are waiting for peace. This is the desire of Israelis and Palestinians,” Peres said.
Peres’s confidence in Abbas as a partner for peace was in stark opposition to the beliefs of several key members of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanayu’s ruling coalition.
On Saturday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Channel 2 that Abbas is not the leader who can make an agreement with Israel that will put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Abu Mazen is a partner that takes but doesn’t give. He is not a partner for a permanent-status agreement in which at the end there is recognition of the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon said.

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