Abbas arrives in US for Mideast talks

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas arrived in the United States late Saturday to take part in an international Middle East peace conference that opens next week in Annapolis, Maryland.

Abbas arrives in US for Mideast talks
A plane carrying the Palestinian leader touched down at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington at 23:30 pm (0430 GMT Sunday).

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will top the guest list for Tuesday's meeting that will be opened by US President George W. Bush.

During a three-way summit in Egypt on Thursday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Abbas said they were "optimistic" over the chances of success of the meeting.

Abbas urged the foreign ministers meeting in Cairo to seize the "historic opportunity" that the conference provides, despite his admission that talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had failed to reach a joint document for the Annapolis conference.

Diplomatic efforts to reactivate the peace process which collapsed at Camp David seven years ago, picked up after Hamas's shock election victory during the 2006 legislative elections.

The win sparked fear among neighbouring countries, particularly Egypt and Jordan where Islamist movements form the countries' strongest opposition groups.

Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel, have shown the most enthusiasm for the success of the conference.

Olmert is expected to arrive in the United States on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was accompanying the prime minister. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak was due to travel to Annapolis in a separate plane.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Kasım 2007, 10:59