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Abbas insists on amended electoral law
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08:16, September 03, 2007

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday insisted that he has the right to amend the electoral law.

"It is my right as a president to legislate laws and decisions that are called decrees. These decrees are legal, as long as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is not able to convene,"

Abbas said in a press conference held here on Sunday.

"If the PLC is able to convene, then it would be its right to pass my decree or reject it," said Abbas.

Earlier, at a joint press conference with visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, President Abbas announced the changes have been made to the Palestinian electoral law.

The overhaul of the law was seen as the latest measure taken by Abbas in competing with the rival Hamas, which stands against his power in Gaza since its violent takeover of the enclave in mid June.

At the joint news conference, Abbas also denied that the biweekly meetings he holds with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, which he said cover almost everything, are final status negotiations.

"I can't say there are negotiations but they are meetings deal with the final status issues," Abbas told the joint news conference.

Abbas said his talks with Solana have focused on the situation of Gaza Strip which fell in Hamas grip since June. Abbas stated there will be no dialogue with Hamas "unless it retreats what has committed in June."

For his part, Solana said he came to the Middle East to move the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians forward.

He added that the coming months would witness a series of important forums to discuss the peace process that has stalled since the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

The United Nations' General Assembly will convene in two weeks, during which the Middle East peace will be addressed, according to Solana.

In November, an international peace conference will be held upon a call by U.S. President George W. Bush, which is expected to gather Israel, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and a number of Arab countries.

Meanwhile, Solana revealed that the Middle East Quartet, comprising the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, will meet with members of the Arab League in December.

"Through these activities, the peace process can be pushed forward and pressure on the Palestinians reduced," Solana said, adding that the EU will continue supporting Abbas and the government he formed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, economically and politically during this crucial period.

Source: Xinhua

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