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Abbas blames stalled peace process for decision to step down

Last Updated: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 10:09

Riyadh: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday the stalled peace process is the reason he will not run for a second term in office.
"The objective is to achieve a final status solution to the Palestinian cause, but the matter is still held up until now and that is why I do not want to run for a second term," the Palestinian leader said while visiting Saudi Arabia.

Last month, Abbas gave a televised speech in which he said he would not seek re-election in polls scheduled on January 24.

The elections commission, however, said that given the rift between Hamas and Fatah, each trying to administer the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, this date would not be possible.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation`s Central Council extended Abbas term in office to June 28.

He has been critical of Israel`s building of settlements in East Jerusalem, an area Palestinians want as their future capital, and has expressed disappointment with the US administration`s stance on the peace process.

An aide to Abbas said that during his visit, Riyadh pledged to use its diplomatic leverage to convince world leaders to put an end Israeli settlement construction.

Saudi King Abdullah said he would exert pressure on "influential capitals, especially Washington".

Abbas, who is on a two-day visit to the kingdom, has refused to resume suspended peace talks with Israel without a complete Israeli halt to construction in its settlements.

Israel considers East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 war along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to be its sovereign territory and part of its capital.


First Published: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 10:09
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