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Mahmoud Abbas: 'Of whom should I be afraid?'

In an interview, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas discusses the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the UN; peaceful opposition to Israel; relations with Syria, Turkey, and Iran; Obama's words vs. actions; and his willingness to return to negotiations.

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Raghida Dergham, a columnist for the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, is a contributing correspondent to the Global Viewpoint Network. She met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York earlier this week. It was the first interview with Abbas following his historic Sept. 23 speech before the UN General Assembly.

Raghida Dergham: Mr. President, how did you feel at the moment you stood before the General Assembly? At that historic moment as you stood there, how did you feel personally?

Mahmoud Abbas: I felt that we are really witnessing an historic event, that we are before a just and right demand, namely that we want to obtain a state that is a full member of the United Nations, just like other people. I, as I gazed upon the people, felt that if we held a vote we would have had unanimous support. But unfortunately, there are those who want to prevent the Palestinian people from reaching that, and those who want to reject this, and all we can do is to be patient.

Dergham: Are you afraid of the reactions? Is this an adventure that you fear may bring you undesirable consequences?

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