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General News of Saturday, 24 May 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Need for Israel, Palestine peace talks — Mahama

The President, John Dramani Mahama, has called on Israel to return to the peace talks with Palestine, which are being sponsored by the United States.

Receiving the outgoing Palestinian Ambassador, Mr Rafiq Abudalfa, at the Flagstaff House yesterday, the President said nothing should be made to scuttle the systematic progress which had been made towards striking a lasting peace between the two feuding states.

Mr Abudalfa was at the seat of government to bid farewell to President Mahama after a four-year duty tour.

The peace talks, which are driven by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, are aimed at ending many years of conflict between the two countries and creating a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel withdrew from the talks last month after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abass had signed a unity pact with Hamas, a group considered by Israel as a terrorist organisation.

Expressing concern about the withdrawal of Israel from the talks, the President said the Middle East needed peace, and Israel could not afford to leave the peace table at that crucial moment.

President Mahama also stressed the need for Israel to desist from building settlements in the occupied lands, since that could derail the peace process.

 Ghana, Mahama said, would continue to support all United Nations resolutions on Palestine.

He said there was no doubt that the two states of Israel and Palestine could live side by side in peace.

President Mahama said the relations between Ghana and Palestine dated back to the period of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first President, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

He indicated Ghana's conviction that Palestine needed to exist as an independent nation through peaceful means.

Mahama commended the envoy for holding on to his country’s diplomatic relations with Ghana.

Also at the Flagstaff House to bid farewell to President Mahama was the Egyptian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Omar Ahmed Abdelwahab Selim, who also served for four years.

President Mahama praised him for his good work.

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