Abbas vows to continue Arafat path to Palestinian state
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday inaugurated a mausoleum built over Yasser Arafat's grave and vowed to continue on his predecessor's path in seeking statehood. According to Reuters, the Palestinian leader said he hoped Arafat's wish to be buried in Jerusalem could still be fulfilled, along with Palestinians' dream of making the city the capital of their future state.
"We will continue on the path to set up the independent Palestinian state with (Jerusalem) as its capital, God willing," Abbas said at an unveiling ceremony in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Abbas called U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to update her on preparations for a U.S.-sponsored Mideast conference later this month, and Palestinian officials said Saturday he complained that Israel backed away from previous understandings.
The officials, according to the AP, said that during her latest Mideast trip earlier this week, Rice secured support for establishing a three-way committee - with top Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. officials - that would monitor implementation of short-term peace obligations by both sides.
The committee is to consist of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. The trio is to monitor implementation of the first phase of the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, which calls on Israel to freeze settlement building and on the Palestinians to disarm gunmen, the officials said. The Palestinians say they have started meeting their obligations, while Israel has done nothing so far.