Abbas meets Iraqi leaders in Baghdad
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who arrived in Baghdad on Sunday, held meetings with Iraqi leaders, including his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani, Xinhua reported.
Talabani officially received Abbas and his accompanied delegation in the presidential palace in Baghdad.
Abbas, then, met with top Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and discussed bilateral relations and other issues of common interests.
Following his meeting with Talabani, Abbas told reporters that he discussed bilateral ties and the future of the Middle East peace process along with means to deal with the new Israeli government.
"We have a constant stance in dealing with Israeli government. We want this (Israeli) government to recognize seeing the existence of two states (Israel and Palestine) and to halt activities of settlement in order to reach to a political solution, " Abbas said during a joint news conference with Talabani.
"We have also talked about how to deal with the Arab peace initiative which was launched in 2002 as Iraq was one of the Arab countries that recognized it," he said.
The comprehensive peace initiative was first proposed in 2002 at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League by then-Crown Prince King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and re-endorsed at the Riyadh Summit in 2007.
Meanwhile, Abbas unexpectedly thanked the Iraqi government for protecting Palestinian refugees during the sectarian strife in the past years.
"We thank the Iraqi government for taking care in our people here," Abbas said, adding "President Talabani consider them part of the Iraqi people and then part of the security issue in Iraq."
Some 34,000 Palestinian refugees used to live in Iraq before 2003, but thousands of them were expelled from their homes and persecuted by Iraqi militia in protest of their privileged status during Saddam's rule.
There are about 15,000 Sunni Muslim Palestinians, most of whom live in Baghdad's Shiite district of Baladiyat.