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Abbas: Negotiations will begin soon

Aug. 8, 2013 6:05 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2013 10:16 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said negotiations with Israel would begin soon, stressing that Palestinian values would not be compromised.

Palestinians are committed to their national cause and to Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, the president said, as he laid flowers on the tomb of his predecessor Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

It is traditional to visit graves during the Eid al-Fitr festival, which began in Palestine on Wednesday night.

Abbas said he hoped that Palestinians would achieve their aspirations for an independent state by the next holiday.

He also congratulated Palestinian students for their successes in the recent high school exams.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Abbas congratulated Palestinians on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, but said no joy would be complete until all prisoners were released from Israeli jails.

The prisoners' issue is a top national priority, the president said.

He expressed pride at seeing tens of thousands of Palestinians heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to pray during the holy month of Ramadan, despite Israeli restrictions.
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