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Abbas: Today's prisoner release won't be the last

Oct. 2, 2009 9:55 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2009 3:42 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Friday "to continue efforts toward releasing every prisoner who has spent decades in Israeli jails," shortly after Hamas secured the release of 18 women the same day.

Speaking at a reception in Ramallah in honor of the former detainees allowed to return to the West Bank, Abbas insisted that "the Palestinian leadership has not forgotten 11,000 prisoners who remain in Israeli prisons."

But Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority had "other concerns, in addition to the importance of this one, which is preventing the spread of settlements, mainly in Jerusalem, as well as many other issues."

The president reiterated his willingness to continue negotiations toward a final-status agreement with Israel. "Due to the determination of our people, we will succeed and we will establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas also vowed to stay in touch with the recently released prisoners.
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