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Palestinian PM wants state in two years

PALESTINE: Palestinian Prime Mminister Salam Fayyad on Monday called on Palestinians to target the creation of their own state in two years, without waiting for an end to the Israeli occupation.

"I urge the Palestinian people to rally around a programme aimed at creating a state ... so that a Palestinian state becomes a reality by the end of next year or within two years at most," he said in a speech at Al-Quds university in Abu Dis, a West Bank suburb of Jerusalem.

He called for "all means" to be mobilised to ensure that goal is achieved "as this would place the entire world before its responsibility to end the occupation and allow our people to live in freedom in their homeland and to exercise their right to self-determination."

Fayyad's keynote address was seen as a response to a June 14 speech in which Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the principle of a Palestinian state but set conditions that would severely limit its sovereignty.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks restarted in November 2007 after a seven-year hiatus but halted again when Israel launched a deadly military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December last year.

Fayyad said Netanyahu's speech was "more ambiguous and far less committed" than the positions of previous Israeli governments.

"We ask the international community to press Israel to fulfil its commitments in order to salvage the two-state solution to open the way to peace in the region," he said.

This implies freezing settlement activity, lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and ending incursions into areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, Fayyad said.

"The credibility of the peace process will be measured by the level to which Israel respects its commitments," he added.

Abu Dis, West Bank, AFP

 

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