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Abbas kicks off tour to Jordan, Russia, U.S.
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16:58, April 14, 2008

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday is heading to Jordan, Russia and the United States for talks on Israeli-Palestinian issue.

President Abbas will hold talks with Jordanian officials and then go to Russia before landing in Washington to meet U.S. President George W. Bush, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters.

"The aim of Abbas tour and talks is to rally supports for a truce between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and end an Israel blockade imposed on the enclave," said Erekat.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held a sudden meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip and the developments of peace negotiations between the two sides.

Egypt has been mediating between Israel and Gaza militant groups to reach a ceasefire, ease the blockade and open Gaza crossings, including one crossing on the border between Gaza and Egypt.

After talks with Olmert on Sunday, Abbas called Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omer Suleiman and discussed the situation in Gaza, the official Wafa news agency reported.

Israel imposed a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip and considered the enclave a hostile entity after Hamas militants routed President Mahmoud Abbas' security forces and took control of the vicinity in mid-June last year.


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