Abbas receives Italian president, praises relations

BETHLEHEM,- President Mahmoud Abbas received Tuesday at his Bethlehem headquarters visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella who is paying a one-day visit to Palestine.

The two leaders held talks on the situation in the region and bilateral relations.

Abbas emphasized in an interview with the Italian la Repubblica daily published Tuesday the historical relations and friendship between Italy and Palestine. He also praised Italy's continuing support to the people of Palestine.

"We do not want the Italian government to follow suit with our politics. But we demand that [Italy] be on the same distance from us and from Israel," he told the paper.

He added: "If we fail or stumble, then we want [Italy] to tell us that we are wrong, and we want it to do the same with Israel. We are not asking for too much."

Abbas reiterated the leadership's commitment to the two-state solution of Palestine and Israel, based on the borders of 1967.

He also said efforts are underway to achieve the intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

Mattarella had earlier visited the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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