Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas speaks at the World Economic Forum in Jordan on May 25, 2013
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas speaks during the opening session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan on May 25, 2013. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is "still possible", Abbas said on Saturday, hailing US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to revive stalled talks. © Khalil Mazraawi - AFP
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas speaks at the World Economic Forum in Jordan on May 25, 2013
AFP
Last updated: May 26, 2013

Palestinian-Israeli peace deal still possible, says Abbas

Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is "still possible", Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Saturday, hailing US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to revive stalled talks.

In a speech to the World Economic Forum in the town of Al-Shunah on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan, Abbas called on Israel to "end the occupation of our lands", evacuate settlements and free Palestinian prisoners.

"This is what will make peace and ensure security for you and for us," he said.

The Palestinian leader praised Kerry's latest efforts to revive peace negotiations with Israel, which stalled nearly three years ago.

"Recently, we have seen concrete actions and tangible attempts to restart the peace process through the efforts of US secretary Kerry, and that brings us hope," he said.

Kerry on Friday urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take "hard decisions" to restart talks at the end of his fourth visit to the region since he took office in February.

"It is clear that in the long run the status quo is not sustainable," Kerry said at a Tel Aviv news conference, noting that the "one way" to peace was through direct talks.

A Palestinian official in Ramallah told AFP on Tuesday that Abbas would meet Jordan's King Abdullah II, Kerry and a number of European foreign ministers on the sidelines of the forum.

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