Abbas to visit U.S. in May

Other News Materials 19 April 2009 14:42 (UTC +04:00)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit the United States in the second half of May, a Palestinian daily reported.
A well-informed Palestinian source was quoted by the Ramallah- based al-Ayyam Daily as saying that Abbas would head for Washington during the second half of May for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on the Middle East peace process.

"So far, a specific date hasn't been fixed yet. It was agreed in principle to hold the meeting in the second half of May, and our contacts with the new administration are still going on," the source said.

Abbas' visit to Washington and his talks with Obama will be the first since Obama was sworn in late January, Xinhua reported.
On Friday, Abbas held talks with Obama's Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, during which the two stressed the U.S. vision of the two-state solution is the only solution to a permanent peace in the Middle East.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were resumed during the Annapolis peace conference held in November 2007, came to a standstill following Israel's decision to expand settlements in the Palestinian territory of West Bank last year.

Abbas said unfreezing the peace process and the negotiations with Israel needs a clear Israeli declaration that it accepts the U.S. vision of the two-state solution.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has conditioned the start of talks on the two-state solution on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, a demand for Palestinians amounting to abandoning the right of refugees to return, which has been a key issue in the Middle East peace talks.
Meanwhile, Israeli sources said that Obama will meet Netanyahu at the end of May, not on May 3 as announced earlier.