Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Saturday for talks on political partnership and the continued international embargo on the PA, a senior PA official reported Monday. Earlier, Abbas said that a year of economic sanctions on the Palestinian government has plunged people's lives into tragedy and hurt prospects for peace in the Middle East and beyond. "If the international community wants to help us, it must lift this embargo so that we can lead a normal life," Abbas said after talks Monday with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
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"Everyone recognizes that peace in the Middle East and a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can put out the fires at all the flash points in the world," Abbas said.
"We are requesting that the embargo be lifted. The Palestinian people have suffered in the past year because of this blockade. They are living through a tragedy - on a social, economic and political level."