Abbas, Lula discuss Middle East peace

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has praised the Palestinians for their patience, while Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has called on Israel to stick to its agreements.

    Lula promised to do his utmost to help in Mid-East peace process

    In a meeting with Abbas on Monday in Brasilia on the eve of the first summit of South American and Arab nations, Lula said Brazil would do its utmost to help the Middle East peace process along.

    Lula's foreign relations adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia said Abbas wished Israel would "better comply with the Sharm al-Shaikh agreement" signed at the first encounter in four years between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

    The Palestinian leader said he especially regretted that "the release of 400 [Palestinian] prisoners has not taken place," the spokesman added.

    Abbas also said he was concerned Israel was building new settlements in the occupied territories, even though the new phase in the Middle East peace process had brought "a 90% drop in violence," Garcia said.

    Asked by reporters if terrorism was brought up at their meeting, Lula said the issue would be dealt with at the two-day summit on Tuesday.

    He said, however, that terrorism "is not a simple issue because it lacks a clear definition, even by the United Nations".



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