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Abbas believes "new era" to start in Middle East
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-14 17:17:42

    NEW YORK, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- The Palestinians and Israel will start a "new era" after more than four years of violence, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview publishedhere Monday.

    Abbas made the remarks in an interview with he New York Times in his Gaza office late on Saturday.

    Abbas said war will end "When the Israelis declare that they will comply with the agreement I made in Sharm el-Sheikh, and today our comrades in Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) and Islamic Jihad (Holy War) said they are committed to the truce, thecooling down of the whole situation, and I believe we will start anew era."

    Abbas spoke highly of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four of 120 in the West Bank this summer, saying the decision was "a good sign to start with" on the road to peace.

    "And now he (Sharon) has a partner," said Abbas.

    The Hamas and Islamic Jihad "want to come to power if they can"in legislative elections in July "and if they win ... it is their right," he said.

    "Now Hamas and Jihad are running for elections, and what does it mean? It means they will be converted in time into political parties," Abbas said.

    Abbas and Sharon announced a cease-fire Tuesday at a summit in Egypt aimed at ending four years of bloodshed and reviving peace talks between the two sides. Enditem

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