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President Abbas Says He Will Not Agree to Elections Without Gaza

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RAMALLAH, February 17, 2011 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that presidential and legislative elections will not be held without the Gaza Strip.

 

Abbas made this statement during a press conference with the President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, who arrived in Ramallah in the morning for an official visit.

 

“Holding elections in only the West Bank is not acceptable,” said Abbas. “It has to include the West Bank and Gaza and without this, we will not be able to hold them.”

 

He said that the Palestinian Authority is going to the Security Council with a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the quartet has failed to condemn the settlements in its last meeting.

 

“We expected the quartet to issue a balanced statement regarding the borders and security,” he said. “But this did not happen. So we asked the Security Council to demand from Israel to stop the settlements, which is what the US has said more than once.”

 

Abbas said more than 130 countries support this resolution, which calls on Israel to stop settlements, and “we are going on with that,” he said.

 

Ramos-Horta said that the issue of settlements does not help confidence building between the Palestinians and Israel, “but it is not the essence of the problem.”

 

He said that Israel should recognize the right of the Palestinians to have a state of their own. “For us, sovereignty is more crucial,” he said.

 

The Timorese president praised Abbas’ rule, saying that what he saw in the West Bank “is the best example of what a Palestinian state could be,” that is “not a threat to any nation.”

 

He said “Israel must do more to appreciate and show what a Palestinian state could be.”

 

He thanked Abbas for agreeing to send Palestinian experts in different fields to work and help in East Timor.

 

“We know many thousands of Palestinians who excel in many things,” he said. “They are welcome there as our brothers and sisters.”

 

M.A.

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