The following are excerpts from an interview of the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) published in the Palestinian weekly, El Ashaab, on 5 July, 1999:

[The interviewer is not identified; the interview took place in Abu Dhabi.]

Question: What happens if Ehud Barak fails to back down from his four noes?

Mazen: If the four noes are the maximum of what Barak is willing to give then there will be no final status talks.

Question: After Barak won there has been a return to talking about the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement. Does such an agreement exist?

Mazen: No. A document does not exist. An agreement does not exist. All that there was was dialogue between myself and Beilin regarding the final status issues. Beilin wanted to tell Yitzhak Rabin about this dialogue but before he could Rabin was murdered and the dialogue ended.

Question: Could the dialogue be the basis for the coming talks?

Mazen: Like all dialogue it could be a basis but it is also possible to go to back to the starting point.

Question: What about Jerusalem?

Mazen: Jerusalem is occupied Arab land like the other occupied Palestinian land. Resolutions 242 and 338 should be implemented – Israel should withdraw from all occupied territory.