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Abbas to convert would-be presidential palace into national library

Aug. 27, 2017 5:56 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2017 4:55 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to establish a national library in a building that had been slated to serve as his presidential guest palace, just as the opulent property was nearing the end of its development.

The Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) started construction on the presidential palace five years ago in the village of Surda north of Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank, PECDAR's chairman Muhammad Shtayeh explained in a statement received by Ma'an on Sunday.

The palace was intended to be a residence for the Palestinian president and a guesthouse for visiting delegations. However, "the president decided to let the public benefit from the palace by turning the building into a huge national library to be run by a board of trustees," Shtayeh said.

He added that all interior work in the palace was entirely complete and that work was still ongoing in the courtyards, gardens, and helicopter landing field of the soon-to-be library.

The property also boasts an indoor swimming pool. The 4,700-square-meter structure was built on a hill in Surda and spans some 27,000 square meters.
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