Home Presidency 03/November/2021 08:02 PM

President Abbas concludes official visit to Italian Republic

ROME, Wednesday, November 03, 2021 (WAFA) - President Mahmoud Abbas concluded today evening his official meetings in the Italian Republic, during which he met with the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinale Palace in the Italian capital, Rome, and with the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, at the Chigi Palace.

President Abbas expressed during these meetings his thanks and appreciation for the political positions of Italy and the European Union in support of the two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy, and for supporting the right of the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

President Abbas indicated that this visit will contribute to strengthening friendship and cooperation relations between Palestine and Italy, and expressed his hope for further development of these relations through the Joint Ministerial Committee, which is expected to be held early next year in Ramallah, and will be headed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the participation of representatives of the relevant ministries, and strengthening the relationship between business owners in the two countries, and cooperation and twinning between the Palestinian and Italian cities.

He said: "I extend our heartfelt thanks for Italy's assistance in the areas of health to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic, water desalination projects, support for Palestinian institutions, training of security forces, women's empowerment, UNRWA support, and contributions to the restoration of the Church of the Nativity."

President Abbas briefed the Italian President and Prime Minister on the latest developments on the ground and the aggressive practices and unilateral Israeli steps that undermine what remains of the two-state solution and create tension and instability, which represents a challenge to international legitimacy and the US administration, which demanded Israel stop to these actions.

On this occasion, the president affirmed: "We will not accept the continuation of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine. We will not accept racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing against our Palestinian people, and we will not accept the attacks on the Christian and Islamic holy places, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, nor the expulsion of Palestinians from their neighborhoods Jerusalem, and we do not accept the classification of 6 Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorism. We also cannot accept settlement expansion and annexation programs, including the seizure of church lands, which strangles our people, Muslims, and Christians."

President Abbas continued that Italian officials were also asked to intervene immediately to save the lives of our hunger-striking prisoners in the Israeli prisons who are in danger, and to demand the release of all prisoners.

President Abbas reiterated what was stated in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, that in view of Israel's continued undermining of the two-state solution, we will be forced to go to other options and take decisive decisions during the coming period if Israel does not retract from these practices.

President Abbas stressed the commitment of the State of Palestine to the two-state solution and to making peace in accordance with international legitimacy, and under the auspices of the International Quartet, reiterating the call for the convening of the international conference with the aim of the Palestinian people achieving their freedom and independence, in their state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and living in peace and good neighborliness with all its neighbors, because the Palestinian people and their leadership will not accept the continuation of the occupation forever.

President Abbas also said: "We take the opportunity to call on Italy and the European Union to work with the International Quartet, the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to return to the political track according to the two-state solution that is being undermined daily by Israel before it is too late."

On the domestic situation, president Abbas said: "We are committed to the unity of our land and people and to the formation of a national unity government in which all participating parties are committed to international legitimacy, and we are currently conducting the municipal elections that will begin next December, and we call on the international community to help us and enable us to hold elections in Jerusalem so that we can organize general elections, Presidential elections and the National Council elections as soon as possible."

President Abbas renewed his commitment to partnership with all segments of Palestinian society: the private sector, civil society, political forces, and others, in order to maintain the rule of law, standards of transparency and accountability, human rights, freedom of expression, and the empowerment of women and youth.

Tomorrow, the President's meetings in the Vatican begin with a meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis.

T.R.

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