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Italian premier 'affirms support in Abbas meeting'

April 8, 2012 4:57 A.M. (Updated: April 9, 2012 12:18 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas met Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Ramallah on Sunday, as both leaders affirmed their strong bilateral relations, official media reported.

Abbas thanked Italy for its political and financial support to the Palestinian cause, and agreed to form a joint Palestinian-Italian committee, PA news agency Wafa reported.

Monti affirmed Italy's support of a Palestinian state based on borders prior to a 1967 war, and commended the president's state-building program, the report said.

He invited Abbas to Italy for further talks, Wafa said.

Monti, who formally served as a European Commissioner, was sworn in as Italian prime minister in November 2011. He is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day.

President Abbas is also due to start an international tour in Asia next week to mobilize support for the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said earlier Sunday.

The President will visit Japan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, including a visit to areas of Japan devastated by an earthquake in 2011.
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