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Palestine Says Ready to Go Back to Negotiating Table with Israel

© Sputnik / Michael Mordasov / Go to the photo bankMahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas - Sputnik International
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Palestine is ready to return to the negotiating table with Israel if its fourth group of political prisoners is released, the head of the Palestinian state, Mahmoud Abbas, said Thursday.

MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Palestine is ready to return to the negotiating table with Israel if its fourth group of political prisoners is released, the head of the Palestinian state, Mahmoud Abbas, said Thursday.

“We reaffirm our commitment to peace and have many times confirmed to you that we are ready to return to the negotiating table for another nine months if Israel releases the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners, who have been oppressed in Israel’s prisons and convicted long before the Oslo Accords,” Abbas said Thursday, speaking at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.

The Palestinian leader said if the talks resume, they would focus on the border demarcation process for the first three months.

The Oslo Accords are a set of agreements signed in the 1990s between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), marking the start of a peace process aimed at fulfilling the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Early in April, Abbas formally requested membership in 15 international organizations and treaties for the State of Palestine. Israel said the move affirming Palestinian sovereignty was in violation of an agreement on resuming the peace process, warning of potential sanctions.

Palestinian officials blamed Israel for the collapse of the peace negotiations, citing the refusal to free the fourth and the final group of 26 out Palestinian prisoners pardoned under an agreement last year.

In November 2012, the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a sovereign independent state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later demanded Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the meeting with Abbas in Novo-Ogaryovo, the state residence of the president of Russia located outside Moscow, on Wednesday that Russia supports the aspirations of the Palestinian people to independence, adding that Russia’s stance on the issue is unchanged.

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