Ambassador Maen Areikat is the PLO’s Chief of Mission to the United States. He spoke with Palestine Note in an interview with Fadi Elsalameen.
Areikat said that Israel has kept the Palestinian Authority in the dark on the talks with Hamas to free Shalit. Israel is negotiating with Hamas a prisoner swap deal to free Gilad Shalit using German mediation.
Speculations surfaced about the possible release of Marwan Barghouti, the popular Fatah leader, and whether or not he will be the President Abbas’ replacement as the President of the Palestinian Authority.
Areikat said that Abbas’ announcement not to run for reelection is final, and serious. Nonetheless, he said that even if Abbas is no longer the President of the Palestinian Authority, he will continue to play an important role in Palestinian affairs as the Chairman of Fatah , and the PLO.