Abbas stresses resuming peace talks

by Masami Ito

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama agreed Monday in Tokyo that Israel and Palestine must quickly resume their stalled peace talks.

Hatoyama also vowed Japan’s support for efforts by Abbas to seek a two-state solution through negotiations, officials said.

During a joint news conference after their meeting, Hatoyama praised Abbas’ strong will to achieve peace in the Middle East.

“I called on Israel to completely freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank including East Jerusalem,” Hatoyama said. “And at the same time, I asked the Palestinian government to continue its measures for cessation of violence against Israel to achieve peace.”

Abbas stressed that the negotiations must be based on the 2003 performance-based road map presented by the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations that calls for Palestine to end “all acts of violence against Israelis” and demands that Israel “freeze all settlement activity” and “take all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life.”

During his meeting with Hatoyama, “I once again talked about the importance of achieving a comprehensive and impartial peace and establishing a Palestinian state, to become independent and found a state with East Jerusalem as the capital,” Abbas said.

“And regarding the recent situation in the Middle East peace talks, especially on resuming the negotiations, I reaffirmed my position that it was necessary to resume negotiations based on the road map.”

A Japanese group will be sent to study where support can be offered for building institutions and capacity, and to hold a high-level conference to discuss creating an independent state.