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Travel Pool 6b: Abbas remarks
Mike Memoli • Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2017: 11:45 AM


POTUS and Abbas entered the conference room at 11:03 am and at 11:04 am Abbas began remarks.

He began by welcoming POTUS as "a great guest" to Bethlehem and then discussed the Manchester attack. Thanks to NPR's Tamara Keith for helping with top of remarks as poolers' translation device was not functioning at first.

"Allow me at the beginning to condemn the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in the British city of Manchester. ... I do offer my warm condolences to the Prime Minister of Britain, families of victims, and the British people."

Abbas then said his meeting with POTUS at the WH last has given the Palestinian people and "all the nations across the region so much hope and optimism of the possibility to make true a long awaited dream and ambition, and that is a lasting peace."

"Our Palestinian people's .attainment of their freedom and independence is key to peace and stability in the world."

pAbbas reiterated "our commitment to cooperate with you in order to make peace and forge a historic peace deal," and as partners in fighting terrorism.

"We reassert to you our positions of Accepting the two state solution along the borders of 1967, the state of Palestine with its capital as East Jerusalem living alongside the state of Israel in peace and security and good neighborhood, as well as resolving all the entire final status issues based on international law and internationally legitimate solutions and side agreements."

He referred to POTUS' "historic visit" Monday to what he called "occupied East Jerusalem. "The conflict is not between religions," he said "We are keen to keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors from all walks of life."

"Our fundamental problem is with the occupation and settlements and failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine in the same way we recognize, which undermines the realization of a two-state solution."

"The problem is not between us and Judaism. It is between us and occupation."

He also discussed a hunger strike underway and called protestors' demands "humane and just." He called on the Israeli government to meet their demands.

Abbas said Palestinians were focused on building up their institutions and a "culture of peace and nonviolence," while also focused on "building bridges instead of walls inside our lands."

Speaking finally in English, he said he hoped POTUS "will go in history, the President Donald Trump who was the American president who achieved peace between the Palestinians and Israelis."

He then extended his hand to POTUS, who returned a handshake.



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