In an interview with Italian TV, Palestinian president speaks of recent Durban conference and upcoming meeting with Obama; denies rumors that Arab peace initiative will be softened in any way Ynet Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not have the mandate to interfere with Palestinian affairs, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a Saturday interview with the Italian news station RAI. In response to a question on the Iranian president's anti-Israel agenda at last month's UN Conference on Racism, or Durban II, Abbas said he doesn't think Amhadinejad's behavior promoted the Palestinian agenda in practice. "If he's speaking for the Palestinian people, I want to emphasize that we did not give him a mandate to do so. We are recognized as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, we recognize Israel and don't want to destroy it. We want to establish an independent, Palestinian state, living alongside Israel," he said. Arab peace initiative unchanged Abbas also spoke in his interview of his upcoming meeting with US President Barack Obama, scheduled for the end of May, saying that Obama's behavior to date had been encouraging. "Obama wants to push the peace process forward. He believes in two states. The creation of a Palestinian state is becoming an American interest. He believes that in order to solve the problems in the Middle East, the Palestinian problem must first be solved," Abbas said. The Palestinian president denied recent reports that the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia intended to amend the Arab peace initiative, in order to make it more palatable to Israel. Palestinian sources had told the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi that a new draft was being put together that was more flexible regarding Palestinian right of return. "This is not true. We clearly stated that there is no change in the Arab peace initiative," Abbas told RAI. "We have no preconditions for a renewal of negotiations, other than that Israel respect the Road Map, which includes the principle of a two-state solution and the cessation of settlement building," he said.