Palestinian president, US official discuss peace process

Palestinian president, US official discuss peace process

38Gaza, May 9 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the recent developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with the US National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

“During the meeting in Ramallah (Thursday), Abbas and Rice discussed the faltering peace process and the Israeli decision to suspend the US-mediated peace talks,” Xinhua quoted Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Abbas, as saying.

Abbas stressed on the necessity to release the final batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners as was agreed upon, Abu Rdeneh added.

The official revealed that Rice also discussed the possibility to revive peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis which officially ended last month.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinians’ commitment to serious peace talks that would lead to an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The nine-month US-mediated peace talks ended April 29 without making any tangible progress.

During the discussions, the US worked to get the two sides to agree on a framework plan that would lead to final-status negotiations to end their prolonged conflict.

Abu Rdeneh also said that Abbas has stressed the Palestinian reconciliation is of national interest as it would reunite the Palestinians.

Late in April, rival Palestinian Hamas movement and Abbas’s Fatah party announced a reconciliation agreement to end a Palestinian political rift that started when Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas who now rules the West Bank.

Under the agreement, which is opposed by Israel, Abbas will start discussions to form a unity government within five weeks and call for general elections six months after forming the new administration.

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