Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch on Monday to discuss US aid to the Palestinian Authority and the deteriorating security situation in the Gaza Strip.
The two met in the West Bank town of Ramallah, and discussed the upcoming meeting between Abbas and US President George W. Bush as well as the deteriorating security situation in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, according to Noticias.
Welch told reporters following the meeting that the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians remained at the top of US foreign agenda and that President Bush and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were committed to forwarding it.
"We will continue supporting both sides in the future, and James Wolfenshon will go on helping them after the evacuation from Gaza," he said.
He added that the US would do its best to implement a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict.
Abbas and Qureia reconcile
Also on Monday, Abbas reportedly reconciled with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia at a meeting after weeks of friction between the two.
According to Palestinian sources, Abbas telephoned Qureia to invite him to the meeting where the two settled their disagreements.
Personal differences and rumors that Qureia was attempting to boost anti-Abbas sentiment within the Fatah faction were thought to be behind the estrangement, according to media sources.
The meeting followed weeks of efforts on the part of various Palestinian and Egyptian officials. Several members of the Fatah faction and former Palestinian ministers were also involved in the efforts, according to media sources.
With tensions eased between the top two Palestinian leaders, the task of assembling a new Palestinian government until elections are held in January are expected to be addressed. The government was disbanded as a result of what has been described as "anarchy" in the Gaza Strip.
A special committee has been established to deal with the poor state of affairs in the Strip in recent weeks, a matter which was not aided by strife between the leaders.
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