Ma'an News Agency (Editorial)
January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Amman – Ma’an – A strong Arab position on the furtherance of the peace process is essential, President Mahmud Abbas told leaders in Amman, the last stop on his regional tour following visits to Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey on Thursday.

The announcement came as Egyptian and Jordanian officials met their counterparts in Washington, the cap of a week of furious state visits by several regional leaders. In Washington, Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman join Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh who is set to attend meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell.

The visit followed Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal's travels to meet with Egypt's and Syria's presidents, after Jordan's King Abdullah II visited the Saudi monarch in Riyadh.

Statements from all leaders saw reiterated demands for a complete halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In Jordan, Abbas continued to rally Arab support for a unified position on peace with Israel, he also told Arab leaders that neither Fatah nor Egypt would accept further negotiations with Hamas on a unity deal. He insisted that once Hamas signs the Egyptian reconciliation plan unity will be achieved, but said the party was being "hesitant" and "still talking about amendments."

“We will not accept, and the Egyptians will not accept the reopening of the Egyptian proposal again… Enough of dialogue, discussion and exchange of words… signing it is important,” Abbas said.

PPP: Regional leaders preparing renewed efforts

Commenting on the renewed diplomatic activity, member of the politburo office of Palestine People's Party Walid Al-Awad said Friday that the events marked an intensive political move that will re-focus peace talk and unity efforts.

Speaking following a political symposium organized by the PPP on Wednesday in the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp in central Gaza, Al-Awad said the recent “intensive high ranking visits to the Arab capitals over the past week [are directly related to the solving of] these two files."

Al-Awwad warned of increased US pressure on the Palestinian leadership to change its stance on peace negotiations and settlements. He urged the leadership to stick to the peace talk timetable developed by the PLO and Central Council approved in its last meeting.

The Israeli government along with the United States hopes to take advantage of Palestinian division and secure concessions from weakened sides to push forward a final position, Al-Awwad said.

"All political factions, and especially Hamas, must realize what Israel and its allies are planning behind the scenes,” Al-Awwad said, and expressed his hope that intensive rounds of talks held by Khalid Mash'al in many Arab countries to discuss conciliation would lead to the signing of a document to end division.


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