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Abbas in Turkey:

Discuss Middle East conflict

TURKEY: Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas is in Turkey for a two-day visit to discuss troubled efforts to end the Middle East conflict, Anatolia news agency reported. He was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Sunday, before talks Monday with President Abdullah Gul, officials said earlier.

The leaders will “discuss and consult on ... bilateral ties, the latest situation in Palestine and regional developments, primarily the Middle East peace process,” a statement from Gul’s press office said. Direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel began on September 2 but stalled three weeks later with the expiry of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in occupied land, which the Jewish state has stubbornly refused to reimpose. Abbas has repeatedly threatened to quit the talks if Israel does not begin a new freeze, particularly in annexed east Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

Turkey has traditionally had close ties with the Palestinians and supports their claim to statehood. It has also pressed for healing the rift between Abbas’ Fatah faction and the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, while urging that Hamas not be excluded from peace efforts.

Ankara,Monday, AFP
 

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