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In Cuba, Abbas says peace deal would encourage stability

Sept. 27, 2009 10:38 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2009 4:34 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday reiterated the Palestinian Authority's commitment to international legitimacy, calling on the world to insist that Israel adhere to UN resolutions.

He said Israel should halt settlement activities and allow the Palestinian people to build their own state and live side by side in peace.

During a speech in the Cuban capital of Havana, Abbas said, "This is the best solution, and if the question of Palestine is not solved, the Middle East will remain disturbed."

"An Israeli withdrawal from Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Lebanese territories is a top priority," he said. "Once that is achieved, Israel will enjoy normal relations with all Arab and Islamic countries."

He added, "We tell Israel that if they withdraw from the Palestinian territories, all Arab and Islamic countries will be able to normalize relations with you."

Abbas then explained that the alternative to such a withdrawal would be terrorism, tension, and violence, which he insisted is not what Palestinians want for their people and region.

With regard to domestic issues, Abbas explained that Egypt was exerting efforts aimed at restoring Palestinian national unity, and that elections should take place as scheduled in order to let the Palestinian people decide what they want.

"I am happy to be in Havana, yet unfortunately it is my first visit to this country. I have always longed for this visit, however, I know quite well that the late Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, used to visit Cuba often and that he had special relationship with Fidel Castro," Abbas said, applauding Cuba for its support for the Palestinian people.
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