Palestinian PM contradicts Bush on peace deal during 2008
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has said a lasting peace agreement with Israel was unlikely in 2008 despite renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict. "I do not believe though that the final resolution ... will be complete in the course of this year. I don't think that is likely," Fayyad told Reuters.
Fayyad highlighted the lack of progress on the issue of Israeli settlements and military operations in the West Bank as among the chief obstacles in the "road map" to peace and Palestinian statehood. On his recent visit to the Middle East last month, U.S. President George W. Bush said he believed a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians would be signed before he leaves office in January 2009.
"The short-term track is not moving as well as it needs to for the political process, for negotiations. In particular, the lack of an adequately firm commitment with regard to (Israeli) settlements," Fayyad conveyed.
Fayyad also repeated his government's criticism of Israeli military incursions into West Bank towns like Nablus in pursuit of Palestinian activists. "Our efforts are undermined, our credibility is undermined particularly in areas where we have made progress," he said.