Palestine leader in Turkey for talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas



December 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Ankara on Sunday for a two-day visit and is scheduled to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Anatolia news agency reported.

In his third visit to Turkey this year, Abbas is also set to hold official talks with President Abdullah Gül on Monday. The two leaders will preside over discussions between their delegations following a tête-à-tête meeting and are expected to hold a joint press conference as well.

According to the president’s press office, the meetings will focus on all dimensions of bilateral relations, the latest situation in the Palestinian territories and the Middle East peace process.

Direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel began on Sept. 2 but stalled three weeks later following the expiry of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in occupied lands, a policy the Israeli state has so far failed to re-institute.

Abbas has repeatedly threatened to quit the talks if Israel does not begin a new freeze, particularly in annexed east Jerusalem, where Palestinians want to establish the capital of a future state. Turkey has traditionally had close ties with the Palestinians and supports their claim to statehood.

Turkey has also pressed for healing the rift between Abbas’ Fatah faction and the Gaza Strip-controlling Islamist movement Hamas, while urging that the latter should not be excluded from peace efforts.  (*)

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