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Abbas says not to hold elections without votes from Gazans

02-18-2011 08:12 BJT

RAMALLAH, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- National elections will not be held in the Palestinian territories if Gaza's Hamas rulers prevented Gazans from voting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

"It is unreasonable to hold the elections in the West Bank alone, it must be in Gaza as well," Abbas said in a joint conference with visiting East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held by September, but Hamas, which won the parliamentary polls in 2006, rejected the announcement and said it doesn't recognize any elections before internal Palestinian split is resolved.

"The call for elections came to restore the Palestinian unity and so people can decide on the split," Abbas added. The division widened when Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and took over Gaza in 2007.

Meanwhile, Abbas asserted that the Palestinian leadership will go ahead in its plan to get a resolution from the United Nations Security Council, condemning Jewish settlement and calling for immediate freeze of construction. The vote on the Arab draft resolution is set for Friday, amid opposition by the United States.

Abbas reiterated that the Palestinians seek an independent statehood alongside Israel, based on the lands that Israel has occupied in 1967, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

Abbas voiced disappointment because the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators did not refer to the pre-1967 borders in its statement following its meeting in Munich earlier this month. The Quartet comprises the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations.

In September, Israel ended a 10-month partial moratorium on construction in the West Bank settlements. As a result, the Palestinians walked out of U.S.-brokered peace talks, which started in the same month.

Abbas noted that the Palestinians will return to the negotiations as soon as Israel freezes the settlement activities.

For his part, President Ramos-Horta said that settlement expansions "undermine confidence and raise the Palestinian side's doubts."

He added that the final boundaries of the Palestinian state, security, international and Israeli recognition of the Palestinian state are the key issues that should be dealt with.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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