Abbas: We Will Continue Employing Peaceful Means to Achieve Our Rights
President Mahmoud Abbas signed letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties after the Israeli government refused to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners.
Abbas said: "We want to establish our independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital through the negotiations that started on July 29th 2013."
"The Palestinian leadership has voted unanimously in favour of joining the international organizations," he revealed. "We do not want to use this right against anyone and we are especially not aiming to clash with the U.S. administration. We wish to maintain good relations with the US because they are helping us and making serious efforts'.
He added that the Palestinian leadership convened today [Tuesday April 1st] to discuss the current situation relating to the two agreements made with the US administration: firstly, the negotiations that started on July 29th 2013, which were to take place for nine months, and secondly, the release of 104 pre-Oslo prisoners in exchange for postponing Palestine's accession to international organizations.
"Three phases of the agreed release took place, and the fourth release was expected to take place on March 29th. We were promised the release of these prisoners, who are dear to our hearts and because of whom we withheld from going to the United Nations organizations. We were told that the Israeli government would convene to announce this final release today, but unfortunately they have failed to do so."
"As a leadership we discussed the prisoner release and concluded that if the final phase of the agreed release did not go ahead, then we would begin signing letters of accession to the 63 international organizations, treaties and conventions, which the leadership unanimously approved."
Abbas explained that the 15 letters are for conventions and treaties that can be joined immediately and do not need further approval.
He added, "The Secretary of State has made superb efforts; we have met with him 39 times since the beginning of the negotiations. We do not aim to work against anyone, but we were left with no option. This is our right. We agreed to suspend this right for a period of 9 months. We never agreed to cancel this right but to postpone it for the sake of negotiations. The Israeli side is continuing to procrastinate, therefore we do not have any other choice but to go ahead with plans to join international organizations and conventions.
Abbas concluded: "We remain determined that the best way to achieve our rights is through negotiations and peaceful popular resistance. We will continue employing peaceful means to achieve our state on the 1967 border with a just and agreed upon solution to the refugee issue based on UN resolution 194."
"This remains what we are seeking to achieve for a Palestinian State to be established so that we can live side by side in security with Israel. Our policy and behavior will not change: this is our position. We applaud the efforts exerted by the US, and we will pursue these efforts as of tonight, because we do not have any other choice."