Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) shakes hands with former US president Jimmy Carter during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former US President Jimmy Carter met in Ramallah on Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and called for new elections in the Palestinian territories.
Carter said that holding elections would be an important step for the Palestinians. He praised the current PA leadership for its “wisdom,” saying he came to Ramallah to represent the dreams and aspirations of the Palestinians.
“That’s why we hope to see Palestinian elections in the future,” Carter said. “We also discussed the recent (reconciliation) agreement between Hamas and Fatah.”
Carter said that he would make a big effort to ensure the implementation of the Hamas-Fatah accord, which was signed in April last year.
Carter was at the head of international observers who monitored the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election that resulted in a Hamas victory.
Abbas, for his part, briefed Carter on the latest developments surrounding the peace process.
Abbas complained that Israel was failing to abide by international resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
He also called on international donors to fulfill their pledge to fund the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge.
Abbas also stressed the need to end the Hamas-Fatah dispute in order to pave the way for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and holding long overdue elections for the presidency and parliament.
Carter was scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders. However, the visit was called off in the last minute. Some reports in Palestinian media suggested that the visit was cancelled at the request of the PA leadership out of fear that it would “legitimize” the Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.