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Peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians should be signed in six months after a Mideast conference due in the U.S. later this year
A peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians should be signed in six months after a Mideast conference due in the U.S. later this year, the head of the Palestinian National Authority said Tuesday. "We proposed setting a maximum term of six months, but have yet to reach an agreement on this point with the Americans and Israelis," Mahmoud Abbas told journalists in Cairo after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Abbas said six months is enough to reach a final deal with Israel. "We don't accept the issue remaining open endlessly," he said, adding that talks between the Palestinian prime minister and Israel's foreign minister are underway and that a settlement document is being worked on. The document, which will lay down settlement terms, will be presented at the international Middle East conference in Annapolis scheduled for November-December. Abbas told the Egyptian media earlier Tuesday he would remain committed to international resolutions at the conference. The Palestinian side has called for a detailed agreement specifying each party's commitment on key points, such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and Israeli settlements. They are also seeking a timetable for Palestinian statehood. But, Tel Aviv has said it expects a more general guideline without binding commitments. "I will make no concessions [to Israel] at the conference in Annapolis, but will demand that UN Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map be implemented," Abbas told the Egyptian MENA agency. These documents provide for an independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem within the borders established before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and for the return of Palestinian refugees. "Nothing can make us agree to less than has been decided by the international community," Abbas said, urging a comprehensive consideration of all issues within the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian Hamas movement, which has occupied Gaza since June after a conflict with Abbas and his Fatah movement, has urged the Palestinian leader to shun the Middle East conference and be uncompromising in regard to Israel. But Abbas has said he could not miss the event.
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