Solana hopes for developments in Mideast peace process
Following meeting with Palestinian president in Ramallah, EU foreign policy chief says, 'We have to take advantage of the opportunity created.' Abbas stresses that 'there will be no dialogue with Hamas until it goes back on the coup it carried out in June'
In a press conference held after the meeting, Solana said he hoped for positive developments in the coming months.
According to the foreign policy chief, he came to the Middle East to advance the peace process. He stressed that the Europe Union would continue to help Abbas and his government with financial and security aid.
"We need to see achievements by the end of the year. We have to take advantage of the opportunity created," he added.
Solana noted that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would be backed by the EU and expressed his hope that the talks would succeed and that each side would be open to the other side's suggestions.
Solana and Abbas in Ramallah (Photo: Reuters)
Addressing the US-sponsored peace conference scheduled to take place in November, the foreign policy chief said that "a solution will not be achieved tomorrow, but we have to make progress."
The Palestinian president said that his meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dealt with all the relevant issues, both daily issued and disputed diplomatic issues.
"Every such meeting requires a lot of preparation, so that it is not defined as a failure," he said.
Abbas also announced changes in the Palestinian election law aimed at bolstering his Fatah party against the rival Hamas group.
Under the new law, Palestinians will vote solely for party lists, while district voting will be eliminated. In the last legislative election in early 2006, half the seats were chosen on a national list and the other half by districts.
Abbas added that "there will be no dialogue with Hamas until it goes back on the coup it carried out in June." He stressed, however, that the Palestinian Authority was interested in transferring humanitarian aid to the Strip in order not to harm the Palestinian people.
AP contributed to this report