Abbas welcomes change in Israel

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, has welcomed the "radical change" wrought on the political landscape by the decision of Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, to quit his Likud party.

    Abbas is convinced that Sharon can bring peace to the region

    Abbas said on Friday that he was convinced Sharon could bring peace to the Middle East if re-elected next March.

     

    "There has been a radical change on the political map of Israel. We now have a really new situation," Abbas told a joint news conference after talks in Rome with Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

     

    "I think that the Israeli people could opt for the choice of peace and when the will of the people is the same as the will of the elected leader, much can be achieved."

     

    A man of conviction

     

    Sharon quit the Likud party he founded to set up a centrist party which has spelled out its willingness to see the creation of a Palestinian state.

     

    "Without doubt he is a man to realise his convictions," Abbas said.

     

    However, he cautioned that the situation in Israel from the Palestinian point of view is still "very difficult to decipher" because of the changes within Likud, where there were many "new and unknown" faces.

     

    Berlusconi reiterated an offer to host Israeli-Palestinian talks in the Sicilian town of Erice, and said Italy was ready to mediate if asked to by both sides.

     

    Abbas, on a two-day visit to Rome, had talks earlier on Friday with Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Italy's president, and has an audience with the Pope at the Vatican on Saturday.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.