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Abbas emphasizes he seeks peace with Israel through continued conversation with Israelis, but PLO can make its own decisons

Official PA TV, excerpt of a speech given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Jan. 14, 2018, at the PLO Central Council in Ramallah

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "We have an additional matter and it is important, and I think it needs to continue. I don't impose my decisions on the [PLO Central] Council. The council is free to make the decisions it wants. We have the conversation with the supporters of peace in Israel, the conversation with the supporters of peace in Israel. A group of young men and women are responsible for it, women and men who are speaking with the supporters of peace in Israel, or [with] those who are expected to be supporters of peace… We must try, we will continue with these meetings because they are beneficial meetings. After all, with whom do we seek peace? With the State of Israel – or not? If there will be [two states,] Israel and Palestine, we will need to coexist and speak with each other. So let us speak with each other from this moment, and we are continuing the conversation, and it is not connected to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu rejecting peace. We must maintain these actions."