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Abdullah bin Zayed reiterates support to Arab Peace Initiative

posted on 25/12/2008: 911 views

Occupied Jerusalem - UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has reiterated commitment to the Arab initiative for peace with Israel, describing it as the "solution for all the region's problems." Speaking at a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazin in the West Bank's city of Bethlehem, Sheikh Abdullah said he was honoured to meet with Abbas and the Palestinian people.

"It is my honour to meet with the Palestinian President and the Palestinian people who have a special place in the hearts of UAE leaders. I am also delighted to be with you in theses glorious days," Sheikh Abdullah said.

Sheikh Abdullah also praised the wise policy of President Abbas and his government.

"Your policy and your government played a major role in encouraging your Arab brethren in general and the UAE in particular to provide support and trust to your government." "We should particularly commend your government's efforts in improving conditions of our brotherly people in Palestine." Sheikh Abdullah said under directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he visited Palestine following the meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo, during which, they renewed their countries' support to President Abbas and confidence in his government.

"I am here to meet President Abu Mazin who received the support of Arab countries and their confidence in his government. There are some parties that try to either extend or shorten Abu Mazin's Presidency term. We feel that it is in the interest of the Palestinian people and of the region at large that Abu Mazin should continue to lead his people, regardless of what effect this laborious task might have to his health and efforts," sheikh Abdullah said.

He went on to say that Abu Mazin was seen as a "persistent, patient and caring leader." "The international community has lent its confidence in the (Palestinian National) Authority in the person of Abu Mazin. That's why we lay stress on his leadership."

Sheikh Abdullah indicated that the Israeli occupation was considered a major impediment to the Palestinian President's efforts.

"This is my first visit to Palestine by land. I have seen the huge number road blocks, border posts, checkpoints and illegal (Israeli) settlements," he noted.

"With the determination of your people, and the support of your Arab brothers, we feel that we very close to persuading the international community and the Israeli people of how important the Arab Peace Initiative is." "The initiative," he continued, "is considered the solution to the region's problems, to make our region a safe and stable place, enjoying development and prosperity. A place in which, our children could have a bright future." Addressing Abu Mazin, Sheikh Abdullah said: "We, in the UAE, will always seek to earn your trust and, in keeping with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will always stand by the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people." Sheikh Abdullah urged Barack Obama the President elect of the United States to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative.

"We should bear in mind that the initiative has been driven, not only by Arab countries, but also by the Islamic countries who unanimously adopted it during their conference in Tehran." Sheikh Abdullah called for bold steps to accelerate the Arab Peace Initiative after the upcoming Israeli elections.

"We need to show the Israeli people that the majority of Arabs and Muslims believe in setting up a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, the return of occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories and, of course an explicit vision for the refugees issue." He added that the West and the United States have no excuse in saying that they could not identify a Palestinian negotiating part. "In fact, there is no Israeli negotiating party." Sheikh Abdullah said despite the difficult situation, due to the separation wall and Israeli settlement, a solution could be reached if Israel was seriously keen on ending the conflict.

"There are 57 Islamic countries ready to normalise with Israel if the latter is willing to find peace, to return the occupied Arab territories and to accept the Arab initiative." He continued by saying: "Israel claims that it is in search for peace and security but it is very difficult for it to maintain their land's peace and security, if it has neighbours that do not accept its existence. What is important in the Arab Peace Initiative is not diplomatic relations, but normalisation. I know the word normalisation is irksome, but it is conditional on the return of all Arab territories to their legitimate owners.

For his part, Abu Mazin called for resuming Palestinian domestic dialogue.

Welcoming Sheikh Abdullah, he praised the support and aid given by the UAE to the Palestinian people.

"This is a special day for us as we welcome His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the birthplace of Jesus Christ, to assess the situation in the Palestinian territories at first hand. This is not the first time that Sheikh Abdullah honours us with his visit. We were graced by his previous visit when he laid the foundation stone for the Sheikh Khalifa City and distributed keys for the many apartments donated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan," he said.

Abu Mazin also lauded President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's unlimited support to the Palestinian people and referred to the UAE's stand during the recent meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers.

He expressed appreciation to Sheikh Abdullah and his brothers and to the government and people of the UAE.

Abu Mazin said he was saddened by the situation in Gaza, including the blockade and the difficult conditions endured by the Palestinian people.

"Our people in Gaza strip lead a different life than that of the rest of the world. We hope the truce will continue so our people can lead a normal life. We call on Israel to cease its aggression on the Palestinian people." He also called for halting firing the "absurd and pointless" rockets.

Abu Mazin urged Hamas to join an inter-Palestinian dialogue.

"Though Hamas refrained from going to Cairo for dialogue, we call her again to sit for talks. I believe that Egypt remains prepared to host such talks. In fact, we would not accept any other place than Egypt to be a venue for the Palestinian national dialogue." He revealed that last month, Arab Foreign Ministers asked Egypt to continue its efforts or another country would be approached to sponsor the talks.

"This is totally unacceptable by us. Egypt has always had our absolute trust and an unshakable confidence." Sheikh Abdullah arrived earlier today in Bethlehem. He is being accompanied on his visit by H.E. Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth '&' Community Development, Zaki Nussaibah, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture '&' Heritage, Mohammed Al Murr, Deputy Chairman of Dubai Culture '&' Arts Foundation, Abdul Ghafar Hussein, Chairman of the UAE Human Rights Association, Habib Al Sayegh, Managing Editor of Al Khaleej newspaper and a number of NGOs representatives.


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