The European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said following a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Thursday that “the Palestinian people have suffered and suffered a lot, and it is time that the occupation that started in 1967 is over.”
"That is the objective of the Road Map," he said, referring to an internationally drafted plan which seeks to create a Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure Israel, but has been largely dormant since its inception in 2003.
Abbas called on the international community to act toward resuming talks between Israel and the PA, this as part of his ongoing efforts to schedule a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Solana (L) and Abbas in Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)
Turning his attention to the Gilad Shalit kidnapping affair, Abbas said, “efforts are continuing in this matter, as are efforts to resolve the Palestinian political crisis.”
However, the Palestinian president said of the situation in the PA that, “our options are limited and we must act in a level-headed manner to bring about a solution.”
Abbas said the Shalit affair may spark renewed diplomatic talks and the implementation of the Road Map, adding that he hoped for a Palestinian government that would act in accordance with international law.
He also thanked Solana for Europe’s support of the Palestinians and called on the EU official to ask Israel to ease its restrictions on the Palestinians, especially with regards to the border crossings issue.
Solana said that despite the current Palestinian government, the EU has increased its financial aid to the Authority compare to last year.
Solana then praised Abbas, telling the PA leader that ‘In Europe they are aware of the difficulties you are going through.’ Like US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before him, Solana said the EU would assist Abbas in strengthening the Presidential Guard.
Earlier on Thursday Solana held meetings with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Vive Premier Shimon Peres, during which he also called to end the diplomatic standstill and open the Gaza crossings.