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WAR REPORT
Israel 'saddened' as Brazil recognises Palestinian state

Palestinian leader visits Turkey
Ankara (AFP) Dec 5, 2010 - Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas arrived in Turkey Sunday for a two-day visit to discuss troubled efforts to end the Middle East conflict, Anatolia news agency reported. He was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Sunday, before talks Monday with President Abdullah Gul, officials said earlier. The leaders will "discuss and consult on ... bilateral ties, the latest situation in Palestine and regional developments, primarily the Middle East peace process," a statement from Gul's press office said. Direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel began on September 2 but stalled three weeks later with the expiry of an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in occupied land, which the Jewish state has stubbornly refused to reimpose.

Abbas has repeatedly threatened to quit the talks if Israel does not begin a new freeze, particularly in annexed east Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. Turkey has traditionally had close ties with the Palestinians and supports their claim to statehood. It has also pressed for healing the rift between Abbas' Fatah faction and the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, while urging that Hamas not be excluded from peace efforts. Turkey's once-close ties with Israel, meanwhile, plunged into a deep crisis on May 31 when Israeli forces killed nine Turks on a Gaza-bound aid ship.
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Dec 4, 2010
earlier related report
Abbas: US proposal for peace talks expected soon
Amman (AFP) Dec 5, 2010 - A US proposal to bolster troubled Middle East peace talks was expected within days, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said following a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday.

"His majesty and I agreed to continue our cooperation and coordination in light of an expected US position in the coming few days, and we should examine it together," a palace statement quoted Abbas as saying.

Abbas did not elaborate.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have faltered following the end of a temporary ban on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Abbas says he will not return to negotiations while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future state. But Israel has so far refused to impose a new ban.

On Thursday, a Palestinian official said Washington had officially informed them that attempts to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze had failed, but US officials have refused to confirm or deny the report.

The Palestinian leader was in Amman to offer his condolences over the passing of the king's British grandfather, retired Colonel Walter Percy Gardiner, who died on Wednesday, the palace said.

earlier related report
Israel on Saturday said it was disappointed by Brazil's decision to recognise a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, saying it flew in the face of efforts to negotiate a peace deal.

The decision was announced by outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a public letter addressed to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, which was made public by Brazil's foreign ministry on Friday.

"The government of Israel expresses sadness and disappointment over the decision by the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a month before he steps down," a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said.

"Recognition of a Palestinian state is a breach of the interim agreement which was signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995 which said that the issue of the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be discussed and resolved through negotiations," it said.

Such a move also contravened the 2003 Middle East roadmap for peace, which said a Palestinian state could only be established through negotiations and not through unilateral actions, the statement said, warning that unilateral steps would harm attempts to build trust.

"Every attempt to bypass this process and to decide in advance in a unilateral manner about important issues which are disputed, only harms trust between the sides, and hurts their commitment to the agreed framework of negotiating towards peace."

Lula's letter was sent in response to a personal request made by Abbas on November 24, the Brazilian document said.

The letter refers to the "legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people for a secure, united, democratic and economically viable state coexisting peacefully with Israel."

Although the international community backs Palestinian demands for a state on land seized by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, most Western governments insist that the state should be established through a negotiated peace agreement with Israel.

The move by Brazil comes as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians teeter on the brink of collapse following the end of a temporary ban on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Abbas says he will not return to negotiations while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future state. But Israel has so far refused to impose a new ban.

Over the last few weeks, Abbas has repeatedly said he would explore other options if peace talks with the Israelis collapse -- one of which would see him seeking United Nations' recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

On Thursday, a Palestinian official said Washington had officially informed them that attempts to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze had failed, but US officials refused to confirm or deny the report.

Abbas visited Brazil in 2005 and 2009, and Lula made the first-ever trip by a Brazilian head of state to Israel and the Palestinian territories in March this year.



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WAR REPORT
Brazil recognizes Palestinian state on 1967 borders
Brasilia (AFP) Dec 3, 2010
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders Friday in a public letter addressed to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. The decision came in response to a personal request made by Abbas on November 24, according to the letter published on the foreign ministry's website. "Considering that the demand presented by his excellency (Abbas) i ... read more







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