JERUSALEM (AFP) – US President George W. Bush is looking to reach a final status Israeli-Palestinian agreement before he leaves office, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said in an interview published on Thursday.
“The Americans are determined to push the parties into reaching an arrangement during President Bush’s current term,” Abbas was quoted as telling Israel’s Maariv daily in published extracts of the interview.
“I heard this in person from the president himself and from Secretary of State (Condoleezza) Rice. They want to reach an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming year,” he added.
Bush leaves office in January 2009 after two terms in the White House.
“We have to reach the final formula, the end game, and then think about the implementation and set a timetable for the implementation on the ground,” said Abbas, when asked about his plan for a final-status arrangement.
“First we have to resolve the problems and arrive at an outline for the final agreement,” he added, listing his principles of this agreement.
“A Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital and a solution to all the problems on the agenda, including the refugee problem,” he said.
“Afterwards we have to think about how to implement the agreement. The implementation may take time, the timetable may be long, but what is important is for the Palestinians to know the final result, the end game, from the outset.”