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Middle East

Israel's Peres says Abbas serious about peace

Peru's President Ollanta Humala, right, walks with Israel's President Shimon Peres during a welcoming ceremony at the president's residence in Jerusalem, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli President Simon Peres on Monday hailed remarks by Mahmud Abbas on the Palestinian refugee issue which he said showed the Palestinian president's "seriousness about reaching peace."

"I was happy to hear him," Peres's office quoted him as saying at the start of a meeting with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.

At a rare meeting with 250 Israeli students at his West Bank headquarters on Sunday, Abbas said he did not intend "to flood Israel" with returning Palestinian refugees.

He also said there was no need to "re-divide" Jerusalem in order to have a Palestinian capital in the Arab eastern sector, with the city's fate one of the most complex issues of the ongoing peace talks.

Resolving the question of the right of return for Palestinian families who fled or were forced out of their homes during the war which accompanied Israel's independence in 1948 is one of the most bitterly-disputed issues in the conflict.

During their morning meeting, the Israeli and Peruvian presidents talked about the peace process and about increased economic,scientific and agricultural cooperation between their two nations, a statement from Peres's office said.

The Jewish state was accepted last week as an observer state to the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc grouping Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - four of Latin America's fastest-growing economies.

 

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Summary

Israeli President Simon Peres on Monday hailed remarks by Mahmud Abbas on the Palestinian refugee issue which he said showed the Palestinian president's "seriousness about reaching peace".

Resolving the question of the right of return for Palestinian families who fled or were forced out of their homes during the war which accompanied Israel's independence in 1948 is one of the most bitterly-disputed issues in the conflict.

During their morning meeting, the Israeli and Peruvian presidents talked about the peace process and about increased economic,scientific and agricultural cooperation between their two nations, a statement from Peres's office said.


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