Arab states back Abbas-led Palestinian government

February 4th, 2009 - 6:39 am ICT by IANS  

Abu Dhabi, Feb 4 (DPA) Foreign ministers of nine Arab countries gathering in Abu Dhabi Tuesday expressed their support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ authority.”The meeting aimed at deepening the Arab relations in preparation for the coming Arab summit,” sources told DPA from the behind-closed-doors meeting.

The meeting that went on for several hours included the ministers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority.

In a statement, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the ministers were working to overcome this difficult time in the Arab world.

“We are working to overcome this difficult time in the Arab world and ensure that unwelcome, non-Arab parties do not get involved in our affairs in an un-constructive manner,” the minister said.

“Our aim is to boost Arab solidarity and mobilize our backing for the Arab peace initiative, bolster support for the Palestinian Authority and for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the sole representative of the Palestinian people,” the statement said.

This meeting is expected to be followed by several meetings in the upcoming weeks and they will involve foreign ministers from the rest of the Arab world.

Gaza is still recovering from a 22-day Israeli attack that left around 1,400 dead and more than 5,000 injured. Israel said the offensive was aimed at ending rockets being fired from the enclave.

Arab ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi backed Egypt’s efforts and were preparing for an international conference to be held in Egypt next March for rebuilding the Strip.

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