“Abbas Heading for Europe to Break Through Isolation of Hamas,” from Palestine Media Center — PMC, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Meanwhile Abbas arrived in Jordan on Friday en route to Turkey, Norway, Finland and France.
On Thursday, Abbas received a letter from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, delivered by his Middle East envoy, Lord Levy, outlining proposals to revive the moribund peace process with Israel.
“The letter contains ways to unfreeze the peace process and the role that Britain can play in this regard,” Rafiq Al-Husseini, said after Levy met with Abbas in Ramallah.
“There are strong indications that intense international efforts are being deployed to restart the peace process after the formation of a government in Israel,” said Al-Husseini.
Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, Blair reiterated his support for a negotiated two-state solution for the Middle East conflict.
“The whole of the international community stands ready and willing to take forward a negotiated solution on the basis of a fair deal that allows for an independent and viable Palestinian state, providing that Hamas recognise the state of Israel and give up violence,” he said.
The EU said Friday its freeze of budget aid for the PNA will stay in effect indefinitely but blamed Israel for the PNA government’s financial crunch, said spokeswoman for EU External Relations Commissioner.
Complying with a diplomatic boycott of the Palestinian government, France has refused a visa for the Palestinian Planning Minister, Samir Abu Eisha, to attend a conference in Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said Friday.
However France announced Wednesday that it would not halt relief aid to the Palestinians, a move, which it said would be a “major political mistake.”
Ahead of his tour, Abbas said: “If the European countries don’t want to have contact with the Palestinian government, there are other means to maintain aid directed towards the Palestinian people,” he said in an interview with French daily Le Monde published Friday.
Abbas said he would explain his position during visits to the leaders of Norway, Turkey and France, “so that the Palestinians are not penalized by the economic blockade.”
“I believe that the stop in European aid is unjustified,” he told Le Monde.
Abbas said government employees’ salaries should be paid, in full or in part, as soon as possible.
“We are going to make proposals along this line to the Americans and Europeans in the hope that they will be accepted,” he said.
Earlier this month, Yasser Abed Rabbo, member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the “Voice of Palestine” radio that Abbas would visit the Brussels-based European Commission and address the European parliament during his tour.
On Friday Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, said the president would also talk to European leaders about reviving peace negotiations with Israel, frozen since a Palestinian uprising erupted in late 2000.
“He will ask for assistance in holding an international conference for peace as preparation to negotiate a permanent agreement in accordance with the road map,” Erakat said, referring to a UN-adopted blueprint for peace.
How can he do that with Hamas’ opposition?