By Mustafa Deveci
JERUSALEM (AA) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said late Tuesday he is ready to restart peace negotiations where they left off over a decade ago with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Olmert in New York following a UN Security Council meeting, Abbas said U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” would bring neither peace nor stability to the Middle East.
Trump's plan does not appear to meet even the most basic Palestinian demands for comprehensive peace with Israel, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their homes as a result of the conflict.
“I am fully ready to resume negotiations where we left it with you, Mr. Olmert, under the umbrella of the international Quartet, and not on the basis of the plan of annexation and legalizing settlements and destroying the two-state solution,” Abbas said.
Olmert said Abbas “is a man of peace. He is opposed to terror. And therefore, he is the only partner that we can deal with.”
He refrained from criticizing Trump’s plan, however.
Olmert held a series of peace talks with Abbas in 2008, when he became Israeli prime minister.
But the talks broke down amid legal problems for Olmert and an Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.
*Writing by Burak Dag