Abbas meets with Italian president, PM

Special Abbas meets with Italian president, PM
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi receives Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome, Italy, Nov. 3, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 04 November 2021

Abbas meets with Italian president, PM

Abbas meets with Italian president, PM
  • Palestinian leader thanks Rome, EU for supporting his people’s right to ‘freedom and independence’
  • ‘The two-state solution … is being undermined daily by Israel’

ROME: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Italy’s government and the EU for “their support of the two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy, and for supporting the right of the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.”

Abbas concluded on Thursday a visit to Rome, where he met with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Abbas said the visit “will contribute to strengthening friendship and cooperation between Palestine and Italy.”

He expressed his hope for “further development of these relations through the Joint Ministerial Committee, which is expected to be held early next year in Ramallah, and will be headed by the foreign ministers of the two countries.”

The meeting in Ramallah will boost business ties, as well as cooperation and twinning between Palestinian and Italian cities, sources in Italy’s Foreign Ministry told Arab News.

Abbas expressed to Mattarella his “heartfelt thanks for Italy’s assistance in the areas of health to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, water desalination projects, support for Palestinian institutions, training of security forces, women’s empowerment … and contributions to the restoration of the Church of the Nativity.”

Abbas briefed Mattarella and Draghi on the latest developments on the ground, including unilateral Israeli steps that undermine the possibility of a two-state solution and create tension and instability. “The two-state solution … is being undermined daily by Israel,” Abbas said.

“We will not accept the continuation of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine. We will not accept racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing against our Palestinian people,” he added

“We will not accept the attacks on the Christian and Islamic holy places, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, nor the expulsion of Palestinians from their neighborhoods in Jerusalem. And we do not accept the classification of six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorist.

“We also cannot accept settlement expansion and annexation programs, including the seizure of church lands.”

Draghi expressed his desire for “a prompt resumption of dialogue between the parties,” and said “a fair, sustainable and negotiated solution with two states remains the key to lasting regional stability.”