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Monday Jan. 24, 2011 1:28 PM (EST+7)
Abbas denies making secret offers to Israel

Read more: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine papers, Abu Mazen, negotiations, peace talks, final status

CAIRO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denied offering secret concessions to Israel and said on Monday that reporting of purportedly leaked documents had presented Israeli positions as those of his own negotiators.

What is intended is a mix-up. I have seen them yesterday present things as Palestinian, but they were Israeli ... This is therefore intentional, Abbas told reporters in Cairo after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

We say very clearly, we do not have secrets.

Al Jazeera television published on Sunday what it said were extracts of documents covering negotiations in recent years.

By purportedly revealing greater, secret, concessions to Israel, their effect has been to increase criticism of Abbas both among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

The documents suggested that Abbas's negotiating team had offered to give up claims to much more of Jerusalem than it has said publicly, including proposing to share the deeply contested Old City and its holy sites with the Jewish state -- something which other Arab and Muslim governments have long rejected.

In practice, Israel has controlled all of Jerusalem for the past 44 years and the present government has rejected sharing any of it with a future Palestinian state. Palestinians have said they want their capital to be East Jerusalem, an area which includes all the Old City, and which Israel seized in 1967.

Abbas said all his talks with the Israelis had been explained in full to Arab governments, backed up by documents. (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; editing by Alastair Macdonald)







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