Abbas meets Spanish PM Zapatero

Says he is trying to get Hamas to transform into legitimate political party.

October 19, 2005 14:50
2 minute read.
abbas with spanish pm zapatero 298 ap

abbas with spanish pm za. (photo credit: AP)


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Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday he is working to prevent a repeat of terrorist violence that killed three Israelis over the weekend and prompted Israel to suspend contacts with the Palestinians, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. Israel expects US President George W. Bush to take a firm stand against terrorism when he meets with Abbas in Washington on Thursday, a source in the Prime Minister's Office told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. In a one-hour meeting with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Abbas said his government is also trying to get Hamas to lay down its weapons and transform into a legitimate political party ahead of legislative elections in January, a ministry official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because ministry rules bar him from disclosing his name. Abbas arrived from France as part of a tour that will take him to Washington Thursday for talks with President George W. Bush. Abbas also met with King Juan Carlos. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday afternoon that a Sharon-Abbas summit is pointless at this point in time due to the large rift in positions between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel Radio reported. Shalom also said that he was convinced that Hamas posed a danger to Abbas himself and to his government, while Israel's demand to ban Hamas from the Palestinian parliamentary elections was not undemocratic, rather a part of the fight against terror. In Madrid, Abbas said the gunmen that killed Matat Rosenfeld Adler, Kineret Mandel and Oz Ben-Meir have been arrested and "gave assurances that his government is working and striving to restore the situation of tranquility" that preceded the deadliest Palestinian attack on an Israeli target since July, the Spanish official said. Abbas also said he will attend a summit next month in Barcelona of European Union heads of state or government and leaders of countries on the Mediterranean's southern rim. Prime Minister Sharon has also been invited. With NATHAN GUTTMAN AND TOVAH LAZAROFF

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