Abbas says peace is his strategic goal

BETHLEHEM,- President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that peace is a strategic goal for him and his administration and that the key to peace is in ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.

Abbas' statement came during a joint press conference with visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella held in the presidential headquarters in Bethlehem.

"We reiterate here that peace is our strategic goal and is in the interest of all parties," said Abbas. "The key to peace is in ending the Israeli occupation and in lifting the injustice faced by our people so that the two states, Palestine and Israel, can live in security, stability, peace and good neighborly relations," he added.

The president said he was ready for peace with Israel and for the achievement of the two-state solution based on United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

He expressed support for the international peace conference proposed by France and which is supposed to be held before the end of this year.

Abbas said in reference to a recent resolution on Jerusalem passed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that the mission of this international organization is to preserve world heritage and to condemn Israeli violations aimed at changing the character of East Jerusalem.

He said Israeli claims that attempted to confuse between religion and heritage were not true and not in their correct place.

Israel had denounced the UNESCO resolution as denying Jewish ties to the holy city.

"I want to emphasis here our respect for Judaism," he said. "We have always called for keeping Jerusalem open for worship to followers of the three monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam. What we condemn is the Israeli violations and settler attacks against our people and their holy places," he said.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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