Abbas to Prince William: Palestinians are serious about peace

"We want to reach peace through negotiations," Abbas told Prince William.

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June 27, 2018 15:15
2 minute read.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during his meeting with Britain's Prince William

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during his meeting with Britain's Prince William in Ramallah, June 27, 2018. (photo credit: ALAA BADARNEH/POOL VIA REUTERS)

 
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The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, received the red-carpet treatment on Wednesday in Ramallah, where he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and toured the Jelazoun refugee camp north of the city.

William was greeted with an honor guard as he arrived at the Mukata presidential compound.

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“We welcome you in Palestine on your first visit,” Abbas told the prince during their meeting. “We hope this will not be your last visit. We hope you will visit us when the Palestinian people achieve their independence. We believe that this visit will strengthen the friendly relations between the Palestinian and British people. We are always in need of the support of the British people for the sake of our just cause.”

Abbas noted that the British government had recently provided aid to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), saying this was an “important indication.”

Abbas told William that the Palestinians are “serious about reaching peace with Israel, where the two states would live next to each other in security and stability on the June 4 [1967] borders. This has been our position for a long time. We want to achieve peace through peace negotiations.”

Abbas stressed that the Palestinians are also “committed to combating terrorism locally, regionally and internationally. Therefore we are in contact with all the countries in the world on this issue.”

William told the Palestinian Authority president he is “very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past. So, long may that continue. My sentiment is the same as yours in hoping there is a lasting peace for the region.”

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The meeting was attended by a number of senior Palestinian officials, including Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi.

The prince then made a brief visit to the Jelazoun refugee camp, where he was received by representatives of UNRWA and local leaders and activists.

He met staff, patients and families involved in UNRWA’s child vaccination program and visited the Jelazoun Girls’ School, where he met the “School Parliament” and chatted with them about their aspirations and challenges.

According to the “Galazone Social Media Center,” a group of Palestinian youths threw stones at William’s vehicle as it made its way out of the Jelazoun camp. The group said the youths wanted to “express their opposition to the visit, saying the Britons were the first occupiers of Palestine.”

No one was hurt and no damage was caused to the vehicle or any of the other cars accompanying the prince’s convoy, which was escorted by PA police officers.

William and his entourage then headed back to Ramallah, where they attended a cultural festival and visited the prestigious Ramallah Friends School.

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