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Report: Abbas intends to quit

Sept. 19, 2012 10:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2012 1:24 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed officials to "look for a new president," a Palestinian official told Saudi newspaper al-Watan.

Abbas reportedly made the announcement at a meeting of faction leaders in Ramallah.

"You have 10 days until I come back from the United States, and you must look for a new president," Abbas said, according to an official who was at the meeting.

The official told al-Watan that Abbas was frustrated by the frozen peace process with Israel and the impasse in national reconciliation. The president is also angry over the slogans chanted during recent protests across the West Bank against the rising cost of living, the official said.

While demonstrators initially focused on calls for Abbas' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to quit, protesters in several cities also demanded the resignation of the president.

At the Ramallah meeting, faction leaders discussed several solutions to public discontent and the economic crisis, including canceling the PA's economic agreement with Israel, the Paris Protocol, and ending the Ramallah government's security coordination with Israel, the official told al-Watan.

However, agreement was reached to focus on the bid to upgrade the status of Palestine to a non-member state at the UN General Assembly, the official said, adding that other options would be discussed later including internal arrangements and elections.

Abbas has threatened to resign several times before.
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