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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abbas Rejects Rice's Temporary Solution

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday that he opposed the establishment of a provisional Palestinian state within temporary borders.

Such an idea was floated last month by Israel's foreign minister and is also part of the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

"We told Secretary Rice that we reject any temporary solutions, including a transitional stage, because we don't see it as a realistic option," Abbas told a joint news conference with Rice.

Rice responded by reiterating the U.S. commitment to the internationally backed "road map" peace plan.

"My work is going to be best targeted, I think, in these next months on trying to accelerate progress on the road map, which, after all, would lead us then to a Palestinian state and to helping the Palestinians and Israelis think through the political horizon," she said.

Rice said she was told during her trip that the United States needed to deepen its involvement in Middle East peace efforts. "You will have my commitment to do precisely that," she said.

"The Palestinian people have waited a long time for their own state. The Israeli people have waited a long time to live in security and peace with their neighbors," she said.

Abbas also said he was determined to go ahead with early elections if the latest round of coalition talks with Hamas failed.

The two rival Palestinian factions have made repeated attempts to form a coalition Cabinet but failed because of disagreement over key Cabinet posts -- particularly the interior and finance ministers -- and the government's political program.

Hamas, which has been dominating the Cabinet since winning parliamentary elections in March, has balked at international demands that it recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing peace deals before Western sanctions on economic assistance to the government could be lifted.

Secretary Rice let slip her media preferences Thursday, saying "I love every single one" of Fox News network's correspondents and also favors CBS anchor Harry Smith, Reuters reported.

In comments overheard on an open microphone between morning television interviews, including one with Fox, the top U.S. diplomat said: "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."