Lieberman: No progress in peace talks as long as Abbas heads PA

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is ungrateful and as long as he remains head of the authority, there is no chance for progress in peace talks, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his Australian counterpart Bob Carr on Tuesday.

During their meeting in Jerusalem, Lieberman told Carr that Israel has recently granted 5,000 extra work permits allowing Palestinians to enter Israel, and has transferred 180 million shekels to the Palestinian Authority as an advance on the collection of its tax revenues in honor of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. In addition, Israel has also signed an agreement between the Israel Electric Corporation and the Palestinian energy commission to build four substations in the West Bank. Furthermore, Israel has approved a number of infrastructure projects in Area C and has removed checkpoints.

"In exchange," Lieberman told Carr, "the Palestinians have written to the European Union slandering Israel, falsely accusing Israel of exploiting natural resources, closures in Gaza, demolishing projects in Area C and more." Lieberman said that the only possible conclusion is that "as long as Abbas heads the Palestinian Authority, there can be no progress" in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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