Obama's Mideast speech insufficient: Palestinians
Moscow: Palestinian leaders said on Tuesday on
a visit to Moscow that President Barack Obama's recent Mideast
speeches have been insufficient and contradictory.
Azzam al-Ahmed, the chief negotiator for the
Palestinian Fatah faction, described Obama's endorsement of
Israel's 1967 borders as a "positive signal, which is
regrettably insufficient," adding that subsequent statements
by Obama sounded discouraging.
In a speech last Thursday, Obama endorsed the
Palestinian position on the borders of their future state,
saying it should be based on Israel's borders before the 1967
Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza
Strip in the fighting, and the Palestinians claim those areas
for their state.
At the same time, Obama reiterated his request that
the Palestinians drop their plans to appeal for recognition at
the UN this fall.
Al-Ahmed said that the Palestinians believe the move
is necessary to overcome a deadlock in peace talks. "We aren't
planning to unilaterally declare independence," he said.
Obama also raised tough questions about an emerging
Palestinian unity government that is to include Hamas.
Earlier this month, Palestinian factions signed a
landmark pact to end a longtime rift between the two main
Palestinian movements, Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the
They also agreed to form a caretaker government.
Israel has described the deal as a deadly blow to peace,
saying it won't negotiate with a Palestinian government that
includes the Iranian-backed group.