Notes on Rice's visit

Here are some selected remarks from the press conference by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice after they met and had lunch together in the Muqata’a in Ramallah on Tuesday:

President Abbas:

1.) “…the situation in Gaza Strip is intolerable, unbearable”.

2.) “Since things have not succeeded so far, it does not mean that we have failed”.

3.) “if we reach an agreement, then it’s very good. If we do not reach an agreement, then we wish for the new administration, that it will continue what we have already started and where we’ve reached today”.

4.) “I would like to say that these efforts that have been exerted were not wasted, were not done in vain. If they – we felt it was done in vain, then we would have stopped. So we feel that we are exerting efforts and that there is – there are benefits inevitably from these efforts. And hopefully, in the future, you will see these results”.

Secretary Rice:

1.) “We’ll continue to press the Israelis about their Roadmap obligations and to work with the Palestinians on their Roadmap obligations as well”.

2.) “I think I’ve made very clear the U.S. position that the settlement activity is not conducive to creating an environment for negotiations, yet negotiations go on..:”

3.) “I would just like it understood that President Bush has been a tireless advocate of the establishment of the institutions, and ultimately, the establishment of the Palestinian state itself. We still have a number of months before us to work toward the Annapolis goal and we’re going to do precisely that. But again, this is not easy. If this had been easy, somebody would have solved it a long time ago. And it has fallen to us to try again to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. God willing and with the goodwill of the parties and the tireless work of the parties, we have a good chance to succeed”.

4.) “What I can tell you is that it is a very serious negotiating process. They are dealing with all issues before them. No issue is off the table. This is the most intensive discussions that have been there at least since Camp David and, in some ways, they’ve employed new mechanisms to deal with these issues that were not even there in 2000. And so this is very, very hard.  I just want to repeat, if there had been an easy solution to the establishment of two states living side by side, it would have been done a long time ago”.

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