The peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis "are difficult but they haven't reached a deadlock," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with DW in Berlin during his visit to Germany.
Palestinian President Abbas rejected media reports claiming that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have come to a standstill. Concerning a report in the Israeli newspaper "Maariv," Abbas said that negotiations are still "at the beginning." "We have time to continue to negotiate the issues which prove difficult," he commented.
Abbas reiterated that he views Israel's settlement policy as one of the biggest obstacles in the talks. "The settlement policy must not continue. Expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory must not continue. Settlers must not take more land. These things create problems and obstacles. They're hindering the peace process and making it more difficult to find solutions."
Of Israel's demand for security guarantees as well as the resistance of militant Palestinian groups, such as Hamas, to compromising with the Jewish state, Abbas said: "There's no government in the world which doesn't face opposition. Oppositions are a fact of life. And when we sign an agreement, we are giving guarantees."
Palestinian refugees shouldn't "leave Syria"
Abbas expressed concern about the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria, saying, "We hoped they wouldn't get involved in the conflict. We advised them to stay out of it. We appealed to the Syrian government and other parties to leave them in peace. Unfortunately there were parties to the dispute who didn't conduct themselves well. That led to Palestinians getting involved. Now some are going to Lebanon, others are dying at sea off the coast of Malta or Italy. The situation is tragic. I appeal to them here and now not to leave Syria."
The first broadcast of the interview is on DW's TV channels Sunday (October 20) in the following languages: Arabic (5:15 p.m. UTC), English (1:15 a.m. UTC), German (10:15 a.m. UTC) and Spanish (12:15 a.m. UTC).