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Obama 'Last Chance' For Palestinians, Says Abbas Aide

Earth Times

02.07.09

Geneva - A senior Palestinian official was quoted Thursday as saying United States President Barack Obama was the "last chance" for a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel. "Obama is our savior. He is realistic and pragmatic. He is not a dreamer," said Yasir Abed Rabbo, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

"He is our last chance," Abed Rabbo told the Geneva-based Le Temps newspaper, citing the growing Israeli settlements as an impediment to regional peace.

The senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization was in Switzerland for discussions pertaining to the Geneva Initiative, a proposal for a peace accord between the two peoples, that was launched in 2003.

Abed Rabbo said the Obama administration was informed about the unofficial proposal for a two-state solution and implied the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchel, spoke favourably of the model.

On Wednesday, Abed Rabbo and his Israeli counterpart, former minister Yossi Beilin, met with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who pledged to keep funding the work of the initiative.

Abed Rabbo also called on the Islamist Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, to accept a two-state solution, saying it was in the Palestinian interest.

In a recent speech, hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would, with certain conditions, accept a demilitarized Palestinian state, after declining to support any sovereignty during his first months in office.

The White House said the speech was an important step forward though it failed to please the Palestinian leadership.