Mahmoud Abbas says not to run for re-election

File : Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

RAMALLAH, Feb. 2 (KATAKAMI.COM /Xinhua) — Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to run in any upcoming presidential elections, a senior Palestinian official said.

The Palestinian leadership is seriously studying to prepare for holding new parliamentary and presidential elections, the official said on condition of anonymity.

“President Abbas is expected to call for holding the elections soon, but he hasn’t setup a date yet,” the official said, in the aftermath of a meeting of Abbas Fatah movement’s revolutionary council held in Ramallah.

The official quoted Abbas as saying during the meeting that “we will call for presidential and legislative elections soon and I won’t run for another presidential term.”

The Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and defeated Fatah movement in the 2006 elections, opposes holding new elections before reaching a reconciliation agreement and ending the current split.

Hamas had seized control of the Gaza Strip by force since it routed secular Abbas security forces in June 2007.

However, the official said that the elections would be held, despite Hamas’ opposition.

The official quoted Abbas as saying that “the judge will be the polls as long as achieving a reconciliation agreement is obstructed. The only solution is to hold the elections and any party can come and observe holding it.”

Meanwhile, the official revealed that Abbas is also intending to reshuffle the current government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.  (*)

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Saudi King supports Hosni Mubarak, Mahmoud Abbas makes a phone call

FILE : Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks in his plane before his arrival in Casablanca January 22, 2011. King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's elderly and ailing ruler, arrived in Morocco on Saturday to convalesce after spending almost two months in New York for medical treatment, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Picture taken January 22, 2011. (Photo : Getty Images )

RIYADH, Jan 30 (KATAKAMI.COM / GULF TODAY.AE) —  Saudi King Abdullah has expressed his support for President Hosni Mubarak and slammed those “tampering” with Egypt’s security and stability, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The Saudi ruler, in Morocco recovering from back surgery performed in the United States, telephoned Mubarak early Saturday, the report said.

During the conversation, Abdullah condemned “intruders” he said were “tampering with Egypt’s security and stability …in the name of freedom of expression.”

Saudi Arabia, he added, “stands with all its means with the government and people of Egypt.” SPA said Mubarak had responded by assuring King Abdullah that “the situation is stable (in Egypt) … and what the world has seen is nothing more than an attempt by some … suspicious groups which do not want stability and security for Egyptians.”

Mubarak, known for his close ties with the Saudi king, had added, “Egypt and its people are determined to stop those trying to use the freedom given (to Egyptians) to achieve suspicious agendas,” SPA said.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia granted asylum to Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after he was toppled in what has been dubbed “The Jasmine Revolution.”

Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nogali said the decision to give shelter to Ben Ali was so as to try to “help defuse the crisis and prevent the bloodshed of the Tunisian people.”

Saudi Arabia has kept a total blackout on Ben Ali’s activities since he landed in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah early on January 15 with six members of his family.

The kingdom has sheltered other exiled leaders in the past, including former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

FILE : From right to left, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas telephoned Mubarak on Saturday and expressed his hopes that the country would safely weather its current unrest.

“President Mahmoud Abbas called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and affirmed his solidarity with Egypt and his commitment to its security and stability,” said a statement released by Abbas’s office.

It added: “He wished that God bless Egypt and its people who have always stood with the Palestinian people.”

Egypt, which shares a border with the Gaza Strip has historically played a leading role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and has also tried to broker reconciliation between Abbas’s Fatah movement and its bitter rival Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Meanwhile a senior Kuwaiti official said Kuwait is bringing citizens and residents home from Egypt on free flights.

Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al Roudhan said “Kuwaiti citizens and residents are being brought back home on free flights in light of the current security troubles in Egypt,” state news agency KUNA reported.  (*)

Mahmoud Abbas Calls Shimon Peres

FILE : Israeli president Shimon Peres (R) welcomes his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas during the first meeting of Israeli and Palestinian heads of state ever to be held in the President's Residence on July 22, 2008 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jan 26 (KATAKAMI.COM / ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) — Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called President Shimon Peres on Wednesday to express his condolences for the death of his wife, Sonia Peres.

The two reportedly discussed issues related to negotiations, during which Peres told Abbas: “I am grateful to your firm stance against provocative attempts to delegitimize the Palestinian Authority and the peace process.”

Abbas responded, saying: “You and us together must stand like a barrier against these efforts. The peace process should not be destroyed.”  (*)

Photostream : Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, centre, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. At left is Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

From right to left, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Talks come within the framework of efforts aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R) talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) and Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erekat, during their meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo, January 24, 2011. Palestinian negotiators secretly told Israel it could keep swathes of occupied East Jerusalem, according to leaked documents that show Palestinians offering much bigger peace concessions than previously revealed. The documents, obtained by the Al Jazeera television channel, could undermine Abbas's position, whose public declarations about Jerusalem are at odds with what his officials were promising in private. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, listens to Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat during a press conference following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, not pictured, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Leaked document shows what the Palestinian Authority really thinks of Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on at the State Department in Washington September 2, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young

In meet between Saeb Erekat and U.S. diplomat David Hale, Erekat describes difficulty arranging a phone call with Netanyahu, says Israelis want a two state solution ‘sometimes more than Palestinians.’

Jan 23 (KATAKAMI.COM / HAARETZ) — A document leaked by Al-Jazeera TV on Sunday reveals a string of unsuccessful interactions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority, as well as a serious mistrust between the two sides.

The document, from January 15, 2010 is a summary of a meeting in Jericho between Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat and the United States diplomat David Hale.

During the meeting, Erekat complained about Netanyahu and National Security Advisor, Uzi Arad, describing incidents where he couldn’t manage to arrange a phone conversation between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

“I called Uzi Arad before Passover and arranged a call from Abbas to Netanyahu to congratulate him. I got nothing. Come Ramadan, the feast, nothing. I called them to meet from the beginning, they kept canceling. This is Netanyahu,” Erekat told Hale during the meeting.

The meeting between the two took place shortly after Netanyahu’s cabinet had agreed to a 10 month freeze on West Bank settlement building.

Hale apparently pressured Erekat to renew negotiations with Israel, emphasizing to him that the U.S. government wanted to do this in a way that would honor the Palestinian viewpoint. He also told Erekat “a freeze in Jerusalem is beyond reach,” saying that Netanyahu would never agree to it.

Further on in their conversation, Erekat tells Hale “Abbas will not allow Netanyahu to do to him what he did to Arafat.”

“Abbas is the father of the peace camp,” Erekat tells Hale. “His heart aches when he sees families thrown into the streets of Jerusalem.”

He describes the Palestinian Authority desire for a state with “’67 borders with agreed swaps” and tells Hale “That is also your postion so say it.”

“Israelis want the two state solution but they don’t trust. They want it more than you think, sometimes more than Palestinians,” Erekat says.

He mentions a paper that lays out the Palestinian Authority position on negotiations, saying “What is in that paper gives them the biggest Jerusalem in Jewish history, symbolic number of refugees return, demilitarized state… What more can I give?”.  (*)

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas orders release of Hamas woman prisoner

Palestinian Tamam Abu Suud is greeted by her family after her release from jail in Nablus. Abbas on Wednesday ordered the release of Abu Suud, jailed over her alleged ties to a political murder plot, security sources said.

Jan 20 (KATAKAMI.COM / FRANCE 24 / AFP ) — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday ordered the release of a Hamas woman jailed over her alleged ties to a political murder plot, security sources said.

Abbas “decided to free Tamam Abu Suud in response to her request to be released and pardoned,” a Palestinian Authority security source told AFP.

Abu Suud was arrested in November in connection with what Abbas’s security forces said was an alleged plot by the Islamist movement Hamas to assassinate the governor of Nablus, Jibrin al-Bakri. She was never charged.

“Her release was agreed after Abu Suud admitted preparing plans targeting Palestinian national institutions and leaders as part of a Hamas cell,” the source said.

She was freed on Wednesday afternoon.

Her release was a humanitarian gesture, the source said, while warning Hamas “against the exploitation of Palestinian women and children to carry out its agenda which targets national interests and principles.”

Abu Suud, 52, thanked Abbas during a press conference with the governor she was accused of trying to help kill.

“I thank president Abu Mazen, who generously took the decision to free me even though I was accused and should have been tried,” she said, using Abbas’s nom-de-guerre.

“I offer my apologies to the Palestinian people and to the governor,” she added, flanked by Bakri.

Abu Suud, who preaches to Muslim women in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, called on the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, “to reconcile with the Fatah brothers so we can live in peace.”

Bakri accused Hamas of having “abused” Abu Suud “in the name of religion.”

“We call on Hamas to stop their destructive plans, which exacerbate divisions,” he said.

In November, Palestinian Authority officials said a number of suspects from Hamas had been arrested in connection with the plot, in a charge strongly denied by the rival faction which rules Gaza.

Hamas and Fatah are bitter opponents which have carried out periodic arrests of each other’s members, often holding detainees without charge or trial and routinely trading allegations of prisoner abuse.

Their ties have been tense for several years. But resentment boiled over after Hamas won elections in 2006 and, a year later, seized control of the Gaza Strip after deadly streetfighting with Fatah.

Since then, the Palestinian territories have been effectively split in two, with Abbas’s rule confined to the West Bank. The parties held reconciliation talks last September and November but without any progress.

Relations were further frayed after the revelation in leaked US diplomatic cables that Fatah had urged Israel to attack Hamas in 2007.  (*)

Mahmoud Abbas urges Quartet to put pressure on Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas greets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after his visit the Jericho Museum in the West Bank Oasis town of Jericho on January 18, 2011. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Jan 19 (KATAKAMI.COM / Jpost) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged the Quartet members, who are scheduled to meet in Munich next month, to issue decisions that would oblige Israel to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians.

Abbas, who was speaking during a joint press conference in Jericho with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said there were only two options: Negotiations or violence and terrorism.

“We won’t choose violence and terrorism,” he declared. “Therefore, we tell the Israelis that they must choose the path of peace for their own interest and for the interests of their generations.”

Medvedev was originally scheduled to come first to Israel before going to the PA, but his trip to Israel was canceled because of the Foreign Ministry workers’ sanctions. A senior ministry official said that once the work sanctions ended, Jerusalem would contact Moscow to try and reschedule a visit to Israel.

Abbas reiterated his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction so as to pave the way for the resumption of the peace talks and the implementation of the road map for peace, the Arab peace initiative and UN resolutions.

He hailed the Russians for their longtime support for the Palestinians, noting that he had once headed the Palestinian- Russian Friendship Association.

Abbas said he had briefed Medvedev on the ongoing construction in the settlements and Israeli measures in east Jerusalem that, he claimed, were designed to change the city’s character, identity and history.

The two men also discussed the impasse in the peace talks and the possibility that Russia, as a member of the Quartet, would play an active role in the peace process, Abbas said. The Quartet, which is made up of the US, EU, Russia and UN, is scheduled to meet next on February 5 in Munich.

Abbas also praised Latin American countries that had recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders.
Medvedev said at the press conference that the Russian position toward the issue of recognizing a Palestinian state hadn’t changed.
He pointed out that the Soviet Union had recognized the PLO declaration of statehood in 1988.

“The Russian position hasn’t changed, as I’ve told the president,” he said. “Russia has made its choice long ago, at the end of the ’80s. We supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to create its own state, which is independent, territorially integral and with a capital in east Jerusalem.”

Israeli officials pointed out that the Russian president stepped back from explicitly calling for a state along the 1967 lines, a recognition the Palestinians are seeking. The officials said that Foreign Ministry officials were in touch with the Russian delegation before it went to Jericho to ensure there would be no change in the Russian position.

Israeli government officials said they regretted that the PA was investing so much energy in trying to get “meaningless declarations” from various countries around the world.

“In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared an independent state and more than 100 counties recognized it,” one official said. “The question is whether that changed anything for the Palestinians, did it change anything in the West Bank? It changed nothing.”

The official said the Palestinian leadership needed to chose between “the path of empty rhetoric and meaningless declarations” and “direct engagement with Israel.” Only through negotiations with Israel “can realities be changed,” the official said.

National Security Adviser Uzi Arad was in Moscow last week and President Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet with Medvedev later this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Medvedev said he discussed with Abbas ways of reviving the peace talks with Israel. He called on both parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid unilateral actions. He also called for a halt of Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

He said all parties would benefit from the creation of a Palestinian state, especially Israelis and Palestinians. “This is what we have to work to achieve,” Medvedev said.

He also expressed readiness to host a peace conference in Moscow and warned that the current stalemate would have a negative impact on the situation in the Middle East.

Medvedev and Abbas inaugurated the Russian Museum in Jericho. Abbas described the project as a “symbol of Russian civilization in Palestine.”

Medvedev said that the existence of the museum in the Palestinian territories was a symbol of Russian presence in the Holy Land and the strong ties between Palestinians and Russians.  (*)

Moscow reaffirms Soviet recognition of Palestine

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) review an honour guard in the West Bank town of Jericho upon the latter's arrival from the Jordanian capital Amman across the Allenby Bridge border crosssing on January 18, 2011 on his first visit to the occupied territories. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

JERICHO, West Bank, January 18 (KATAKAMI.COM / Reuters) –  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday Moscow had recognized an independent Palestinian state in 1988 and was not changing that position adopted by the former Soviet Union.

But on his first visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Russian head of state, Medvedev stopped short of making a ringing declaration of recognition of Palestinian statehood by the Russian Federation that he represents.

Israel has been alarmed in the past two months by a string of recognitions by Latin American states including Brazil and Argentina which some analysts say could be a precursor to a move by the Palestinians to seek full United Nations membership.

At a news conference with Medvedev in Jericho, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “We remember that Russia was one of the first states in the world to recognize the state of Palestine in 1988.”

Medvedev responded, saying: “Russia made its choice a long time ago …we supported and will support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state with its capital in East Jerusalem.”

The Soviet Union recognized a Palestinian state in 1988, after it was declared by the late Yasser Arafat in a move that won broad support in the Communist bloc and Third World but had little real impact on diplomatic and political realities.

Photostream : Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (C) review an honour guard in the West Bank town of Jericho upon the latter's arrival from the Jordanian capital Amman across the Allenby Bridge border crosssing on January 18, 2011 on his first visit to the occupied territories. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) welcomes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the West Bank town of Jericho upon his arrival from the Jordanian capital Amman across the Allenby Bridge border crosssing on January 18, 2011 on his first visit to the occupied territories. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (C) reviews an honour guard upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Jericho for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas January 18, 2011. Medvedev drove into the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday for talks with Abbas on reviving the moribund Middle East peace process. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) welcomes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (C) in the West Bank town of Jericho upon his arrival from the Jordanian capital Amman across the Allenby Bridge border crosssing on January 18, 2011 on his first visit to the occupied territories. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (L) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) review an honour guard in the West Bank town of Jericho upon the latter's arrival from the Jordanian capital Amman across the Allenby Bridge border crosssing on January 18, 2011 on his first visit to the occupied territories. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Photostream : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Brazil

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, poses for photos with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a meeting at the Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. Abbas is on a three-day official visit to Brazil. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres).

Brazil's President-elect Dilma Rousseff greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as she enters Congress to be sworn in as successor to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brasilia January 1, 2011. Rousseff is the first woman to become Brazil's president, taking the reins of an emerging giant with a booming economy, vast new oil reserves and growing international diplomatic clout. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A boy photographs Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, during a ceremony to set the corner stone of the future Palestinian Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. Abbas is on a three-day official visit to Brazil. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

In this handout provided by the Palestinian Press Office, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone for the building of the Palestinian Embassy on December 31, 2010 in Brasilia, Brazil. This act is seen as symbolic of a general movement in South America to recognise the Palestinian state. It has however received sharp criticism from the United States lawmakers and Israel. Doves were released during the ceremony to represent peace. (Photo by Thaer Ganaim/PPO via Getty Images)

Abbas Heads to Brazil to Launch New Palestinian Embassy

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

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December 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is traveling to Brazil, where he will preside over a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new Palestinian embassy in the capital, Brasilia.

The ceremony will take place Friday, and comes after Brazil announced earlier this month that it had recognized Palestine as an independent state within its pre-1967 borders.

On Saturday, Mr. Abbas is due to attend the inauguration of Brazil’s president-elect, Dilma Rousseff.  He is also expected to hold meetings with other Latin American leaders.

Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador issued similar recognition of Palestinian statehood this month.  Uruguay says it may do the same next year.  Israel and the United States have criticized those declarations, saying the borders of a future Palestinian state must be determined in direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The diplomatic drive is part of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s two-year plan to establish all institutions and attributes of statehood by mid-2011.  Analysts say the aim is to create momentum for a diplomatic domino effect leading to a possible bid for recognition at the United Nations General Assembly next September.

The late Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, unilaterally declared statehood in 1988, winning recognition from about 100 mainly Arab, communist and non-aligned states.  But it had no direct impact on efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were revived by the U.S. in September after a year’s suspension.  The negotiations collapsed within weeks when Israel refused to extend a partial freeze on West Bank settlement construction.

Palestinian leaders say they will not negotiate while Israel builds homes for Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas the Palestinians claim for a future state.  (*)

Photostream : Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) attends Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas (L) and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal chat following Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri/Pool

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal leads Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem early Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Fadi Arouri, Pool)

A nun prays at the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on December 24, 2010 as the Holy Land prepares to mark Christmas. (Photo by MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian girl dressed in a Santa Claus attire poses alongside other worshippers inside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on December 24, 2010, as Christian flock to the what they believe is the birth place of Jesus Christ to celebrate his birth during Christmas mass. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

Photostream : Turkish President Abdullah Gul meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul pose for media cameras before their meeting at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. Abbas is in Turkey for a one-day working visit.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

urkey's President Abdullah Gul (R) welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the entrance of the Presidential Palace in Ankara December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (R) welcomes his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas (L) at the entrance of the Presidential Palace in Ankara on December 6, 2010. Mahmud Abbas arrived in Turkey yesterday for a two-day visit to discuss troubled efforts to end the Middle East conflict. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish President Abdullah Gul (R) welcomes his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas (L) at the entrance of the Presidential Palace in Ankara on December 6, 2010. Mahmud Abbas arrived in Turkey yesterday for a two-day visit to discuss troubled efforts to end the Middle East conflict. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Photostream : Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ankara December 5, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Adem Altan/Pool )

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ankara December 5, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Adem Altan/Pool )

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ankara December 5, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Adem Altan/Pool )

Palestine leader in Turkey for talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

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December 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HurriyetDailyNews.com) — 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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