Abbas looks for further US assurances before direct talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a Fatah gathering he wants a more specific American commitment on the borders of a future Palestinian state before agreeing to direct talks with Israel, an adviser told the AP on Wednesday. Abbas told Fatah members in a closed-door meeting late Tuesday that President Barack Obama's assurances so far aren't clear enough.
"We expect huge pressure and hard days, but we will not go to negotiations like blind people and we will resist that (the pressure) peacefully," Abbas was quoted as saying.
Abbas' comments were published Wednesday in a Palestinian daily, and confirmed by Abbas' adviser Sabri Saidam, who was present at the meeting. The Palestinian leader added Obama's assurances concerning the negotiations were delivered last week by U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell. Abbas was quoted as saying the U.S. president was less specific in defining what constitutes occupied Palestinian territory than the previous U.S. administration.
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