Last updated: 30 November, 2011

Abbas and Israeli opposition leader meet in Jordan

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni met in the Jordanian capital on Wednesday for talks about the peace process, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

A statement from Abbas’s office carried by state news agency WAFA confirmed the meeting in Amman and said the Palestinian leader used the talks to stress his support for negotiations.

Abbas told Livni that “the option of peace and negotiations was the only way to achieve the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with the resolution of final status issues including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements and security,” the statement said.

Livni’s Kadima party issued its own statement on the meeting, saying the Israeli lawmaker had told Abbas to return to negotiations.

The statement said she had also criticised the Palestinian bid for UN state membership and warned that reconciliation talks between Abbas’s Fatah movement and Hamas would allow the Islamist group to “impose its agenda.”

“Do not let Hamas impose its agenda by forming a joint government,” the statement quoted her telling told Abbas. “With them you have no chance for peace.”

“Now, before forming a government with Hamas, in the face of the changes in the region and instead of unilateral moves at the UN, it is necessary to open negotiations before it is too late and I call on you to do it before it is too late.”

“The Middle East is changing and the deadlock serves the extremists who exploit the dispute on the streets of the Arab world. We need to act now in partnership against the extremist Islamic forces.”

The statement from Abbas’s office said he assured Livni that the next Palestinian government, to be formed ahead of elections within a year as called for by the unity deal with Hamas, would be a moderate one.

The government will be composed “of technocrats and independents and… will accept previously signed agreements, the principles of two states, be committed to peace and will renounce violence,” he told Livni.

Abbas also repeated his insistance that negotiations must be based on the “obligations” of both sides under the Road Map, a 2003 framework for negotiations to reach a peace deal, the statement said.

“The president stressed the obligations of both sides to implement what is required of them under the first phase of the Road Map, including a halt to settlement construction and accepting the 1967 borders as the basis for talks.”

Livni was accompanied by three other Israeli political figures, Tzachi Hanegbi and Haim Ramon, both ex-members of parliament, and Roni Bar-on, a Kadima lawmaker, the Kadima statement said.