Abbas asks Spain to push for settlement freeze

PA leader meets Spain's FM, requests help in achieving release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, Spanish media reports.

April 20, 2013 17:19
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank, January 29, 2013.

Abbas at PLO meeting in West Bank 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokma)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday asked Spain to push for a freeze of Israeli settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed this to Spanish media following a meeting held in the Jordanian capital of Amman, between Abbas and Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

"Spain will make every necessary effort to ensure the viability of a two-state solution," El Mundo quoted Garcia-Margallo as saying. He stressed the importance of the issue of settlement construction, particularly in the area of E1, which he said would make the two-state solution very difficult to reach.

"We are also interested in the situation of the Palestinian prisoners," the minister added, asserting that his country aims to facilitate dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Garcia-Margallo began a four-day visit to the Middle East on Saturday. He was scheduled to visit Israel on Tuesday, where he was set to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister and leader of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority Tzipi Livni.  

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