Abbas to seek Barghouti release

Nov. 20, 2004 at 5:21 PM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Palestinian sources said Saturday Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would present proposals for peace to Colin Powell.

The sources said Abbas will propose to Secretary of State Powell, who will visit the West Bank Monday, measures to push forward the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

They said he will demand the release of Fatah's secretary general in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti, from an Israeli prison. In June, an Israeli court sentenced the popular Barghouti to five life terms plus 40 years in prison on terrorism charges that he denied.

The sources added that Abbas would also ask Powell to press Israel to allow the Palestinian Authority to release the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat.

The Palestinian authorities arrested Saadat upon the orders of Israel in accordance with Palestinian-Israeli security arrangements reached within the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords. He risks being captured by the Israeli authorities if the Palestinian Authority releases him without the approval of the Jewish state.

Abbas will be among a Palestinian delegation that includes Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia and interim president of the Palestinian Authority Rawhi Fattouh to meet Powell next week.

The sources said the talks would focus on reviving the comatose peace process, "stopping the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people and providing financial aid to carry out the Palestinian elections on Jan. 9."

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