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US urges greater role for Abbas in Gaza


Source: | 01-30-2009 10:19

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

US Mid East envoy George Mitchell is urging the Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas to play a crucial role in cementing the shaky Gaza truce. Mitchell believes this will help revive broader peace efforts.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks with George Mitchell, President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 29, 2009.(Fadi Arouri/Reuters) 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks with George 
Mitchell, President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, 
during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah 
January 29, 2009.(Fadi Arouri/Reuters)

Meeting Abbas in the West Bank, Mitchell says the new US administration is committed to bringing a "lasting peace" to the region. He is calling on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and encouraging greater involvement by the Palestinian National Authority in ensuring the flow of humanitarian aid.

Mitchell also emphasized the need to halt arms smuggling into Gaza. Mitchell's statements came just as Israel threatens a second military operation in Gaza if rockets continue to hit southern Israel.