February 08, 2005

Sharon/Abbas Meet - Other Updates

The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel today and afterward described the talks as “the beginning of a new era.”

Mr. Abbas said the Palestinians had agreed to cease all attacks against the Israelis, and that attacks on Palestinians by Israelis would also stop.

He said today’s talks offered “the best opportunity for restoring the peace process” so that the Israeli and Palestinians can revive their hopes for peace.

The two leaders came together at a historic summit meeting in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheik to declare their intention to achieve a lasting truce after four years of conflict. The host of the summit meeting, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and King Abdullah II of Jordan were also attending the talks, which mark the first meeting between the top Israeli and Palestinian leaders in nearly five years.

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Abbas Declares End to Violence:

PALESTINIAN President Mahmoud Abbas today proclaimed a formal end to fighting with Israel after more than four years of bloodshed.

“We have agreed with (Israeli) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to cease all acts of violence against the Israelis and the Palestinians wherever they are,” Abbas said in a statement at the completion of a landmark summit with Mr Sharon in Egypt.

Mr Abbas’s declaration was aimed at solidifying a tacit truce he coaxed from Palestinian militants shortly after he won election on January 9.

Mr Sharon was expected to proclaim a reciprocal end to Israeli military action against Palestinians in revolt.

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