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Italy expresses support to Abbas policy
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08:01, July 11, 2007

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\Visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on Monday expressed his country's support to the policy of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian territories.

Prodi's announcement of support was made at a joint news conference held at Abbas headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a two-hour meeting with Abbas.

"Support for Abbas and (Palestinian Prime Minister Salam) Fayyad must continue in order to let them show the Palestinian people that there is light at the end of the tunnel," said Prodi.

The Palestinian emergency government headed by Fayyad was set up by Abbas after Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip.

Prodi announced at the news conference that his pledges of support to Abbas leadership are backed up by offering the Palestinian National Authority 25 million U.S. dollars in aid.

Meanwhile, Abbas said that he will not talk with Hamas unless it returns the situation in Gaza back to the way it was before the Islamic movement's violent takeover of the Strip.

"We reasserted that we will not hold talks with those who carried out the coup, unless they reverse the whole situation," Abbas told reporters.

Abbas again stressed the need for an international force to be deployed in the volatile coastal salient, but Prodi said the deployment of such a force would require agreement of all the parties involved and that the issue has yet to be examined in detail.

Hamas strongly opposes the deployment of international forces in the Gaza Strip. Its armed wing warned that international forces in the Gaza Strip would be treated the same way as the Israeli occupation.

Source: Xinhua



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