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Abbas pledges to work towards Gaza ceasefire

April 14, 2008 3:20 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2008 3:20 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority (PA) is now engaged in a massive diplomatic effort to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in order to stop the shedding of Palestinian blood and lift the Israeli siege, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.

"We are endeavoring to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip through our Egyptian brothers, and we hope the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip will prioritize public interests and stop everything for the sake of reaching a ceasefire which will lay the grounds for a new stage," Abbas told TV and the PA's official news agency WAFA.

Abbas was speaking after a meeting of his cabinet in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

With regard to his upcoming international tour, Abbas said, "It will include a visit to Russia and the USA, and we will hold talks with the Russians in particular regarding the Moscow conference and the peace process." He was referring to an international peace summit, along the lines of the Annapolis meeting in November, proposed by Russian officials.

Egypt has been facilitating indirect talks between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad, Abbas' PA, and Israel in an effort to negotiate a ceasefire between armed Palestinian groups and Israel. Earlier on Monday, a Palestinian newspaper published the outline of an Israeli ceasefire proposal that would include a halt to Palestinian rocket attacks and the opening of some of the Gaza Strip's border crossings.

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