Ramallah: Palestinian president Mahmud
Abbas on Friday told US envoy George Mitchell that Washington
must press Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"President Abbas insisted during the meeting on the need
for a continuation of US efforts to achieve the complete end
of the Gaza blockade," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told
AFP following talks in Ramallah, the political capital
of the occupied West Bank.
He stressed that lifting the blockade would favour a
restart of direct negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians that were halted when Israel launched a
devastating 22-day offensive in Gaza in December 2008.
Mitchell has brokered indirect talks and has been acting
as a go-between since they started in May.
Abbas condemned the blockade as "collective punishment"
against Gaza`s 1.5 million residents and dismissed as
"insufficient" an easing of the measures announced by Israel
earlier this week, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.