Abbas: UN Membership Bid Does Not Affect Our Will to Negotiate

Palestinian president, who is on a European tour in an attempt to drum up support for the UN vote in September, says Palestinians ready to return to negotiating table.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his efforts to seek United Nations membership for the Palestinians would not affect negotiations with Israel, AFP reported Thursday.

Abbas began a visit to several European countries on Sunday to gather support for a UN vote on an independent Palestinian state.

"Whatever happens and whatever the reaction and the result of our action in the UN, we know conclusively that we will return to the negotiating table to reach the best solutions with the Israelis," AFP quoted Abbas as saying in a speech in Barcelona.

Abbas - Reuters - July 21, 2011

"The efforts that we have taken to go to the United Nations in September will not be detrimental to peace nor to negotiations that we want to continue to have," he continued.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has already declared readiness to accept the creation of a Palestinian state, but now it is the Palestinian president's turn to voice compromise.

He implored Abbas to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, calling it a "basic demand" for achieving peace in the region.

"I stood before my people and said I would accept a Palestinian state," Netanyahu told a Jewish Agency Board of Trustees meeting in Jerusalem last month. "Now President Abbas must stand before his people and say, 'I accept a Jewish state'."

The Spanish government called in a statement for Israel and the Palestinians to restart talks, and to "work to continue on finding a consensual solution that will allow both sides to resume their dialogue and return to the bargaining table."