abbas grand 224 88.
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressed confidence Monday a solution would be found to the Middle East crisis before the end of 2008. He also stressed the importance of reconciliation with Hamas.
Abbas, who arrived in Indonesia on Sunday, is seeking support from Muslim allies in Asia ahead of a US-hosted conference involving Israel and the Palestinians.
The gathering, to be held in November or December, will seek a joint declaration outlining a way for the two sides to return to the negotiating table after seven years of bloodshed and diplomatic paralysis.
Washington hopes it also will relaunch negotiations to create a Palestinian state.
"Before the end of 2008, we will have found the real solution we have been hoping for," Abbas told reporters after discussing ways to achieve a peaceful, lasting resolution to the Middle East crisis with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
He also said Hamas, which he expelled from the Palestinian government after the Islamic group violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in June, "is a part of the Palestinian people and cannot be separated. Nobody denies that."
"However, they have carried out a coup d'etat against the legitimate government that could divide our unity and dissolve the efforts of peace," Abbas said, acknowledging, however, that "we cannot move unless we work together" with Hamas.
The first stop in Abbas's Asian tour was Malaysia, and he is scheduled to travel next to Brunei. Indonesia, which does not recognize Israel, is a secular nation with 235 million people, nearly 95 percent of whom are Muslims.