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President Abbas' speech.
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
18 February 2006
The Palestinian National Authority
Office of the President
President Abbas Lays out Platform
At the Opening Session of the
Second Palestinian Legislative Council
February 18, 2006
Copies of the speech
are now available in both English and Arabic at www.nad-plo.org <
In his opening speech at the inauguration of the second Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, President Abbas focused on the need to continue the negotiation process, leading to a two-state solution. He expressed his rejection of unilateral, partial, or interim policies, including “a state with provisional borders”.
He assured the Israeli public that “there is a Palestinian partner who is ready to sit at the negotiation table with an Israeli partner.”
President Abbas stressed that the PLO and the PA remains committed to all signed agreements:
"I would like to remind the members of the PLC – and members of the future government - of the need to respect all signed agreements.
"We have accepted and respected the right of any individual, group or political faction to voice its objection on the Oslo Accords. But we have not and will not accept any questioning of the Accords’ legitimacy."
He also expressed his continued commitment to the Road Map:
"We accepted the Road Map as an international initiative incorporating Palestinian and Israeli commitments on the security level, and Israeli commitments regarding halting the settlement expansion; the military pullout; the convening of an international conference; the return to the negotiation table to resolve all issues of the permanent status, namely the refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders and water, reaching the end of the occupation; the establishment of the desired Palestinian State, and reaching a fair and just peace."
At the same time, President Abbas was clear that Israeli actions on the ground represent a serious threat to the chances of attaining peace:
"The continuation of occupation and settlement expansion, [the latest measures] targeting the Jordan Valley area to isolate it from the remainder of the Palestinian lands in the West Bank, the checkpoints, arbitrary killings, the separation wall, and arrests will only lead to hatred, despair and continued conflict."
In terms of the Cabinet formation, President Abbas announced that since:
"The results of our elections have led to the creation of a new political reality, in which Hamas won the majority in the PLC. Therefore, it will be tasked with the formation of the new government."
The government, he announced, will be tasked with continuing the administrative and budgetary reform process:
"The previous governments started a comprehensive reform process aimed at correcting [the ongoing budget crisis] through rationalizing the public sector, and lightening the burden on the budget. The upcoming government has to continue this effort."
Major emphases was placed on security:
"Security means securing the citizens and the entire community, securing life in all its aspects. It means the security of all those who live on our land, and the implementation of our international commitments. We all have the responsibility of confronting the aspects of chaos that reign in some of our cities, such as looting, armed attacks, kidnapping of our foreign friends and Arab brothers who live on our land and who are among us to offer support and cooperation.
"I will not permit, and the government should not permit it either, the continuation of the attacks against citizens and their property or against guests and diplomatic missions."
In addition to reform, President Abbas reiterated the basic tenets of the Palestinian political, legal and educational system regarding public and individual freedoms:
"Modern education, based on the requirements of development, the need to open up to the world, the tenets of free thinking and creativity, and the ethos of resisting chauvinism is the safety valve for raising new generations.
"I would like to emphasize the need to protect public and individual freedoms … including the freedom of expression, belonging, and other freedoms, including the freedom of civil society institutions."
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