Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that progress had been made regarding matters relating to the Gaza Strip during a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, including that of the Rafah crossing to Egypt. The Rafah crossing has been closed since Israel's withdrawal from the Strip in September.
Abbas expressed gratitude to US President George W. Bush for his support of the peace process during a press conference in Ramallah with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The US Secretary was in the Middle East this week to discuss, amongst others, the matter of Palestinian and Israeli cooperation. Rice and Abbas reportedly discussed the development of Gaza's air and sea ports as well, according to WAFA.
Rice stressed that the US was doing its best to ensure that ordinary Palestinian citizens would reap the benefits of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
"I believe very strongly that if the parties work very hard now on the Wolfensohn agenda, that there is agreement insight because, with a little creativity, these issues can be resolved," she said.
She added that Israeli settlement construction was counter to US policy and counter to the Israeli obligations it had committed itself to in the past.
Abbas, on his part, condemned the recent terror attacks in Amman, stressing that the Palestinian National Authority was working to impose rule of law amongst Palestinians.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )