Abbas asks for Chirac's support
The Palestinian president met French counterpart at the Elysee presidential palace.world Updated:
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas asked for French President Jacques Chirac's support on Saturday in restarting the peace process with Israel.
Abbas met with Chirac on Saturday morning at the Elysee presidential palace. He is in the midst of a European tour with visits to Berlin, Paris, London and Brussels.
"We are going to tackle the future of peace negotiations," between Israelis and Palestinians, and "we hope to have your support and your backing," Abbas told reporters after arriving, with Chirac at his side.
Abbas's tour follows his meeting Monday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
Chirac said that the agreement reached on February 8 in Mecca between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal should be carried out "in reality and through acts".
The agreement would allow for the formation of a Palestinian coalition government.
The outgoing Palestinian government, led by Hamas, has been boycotted internationally and denied aid from Western countries because of Hamas's refusal to explicitly recognise Israel and former agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
Chirac said a two-state solution -- Israel and Palestine -- was the only "reasonable" path toward peace "eventually guaranteed by the international community."
Abbas reiterated his "commitment to the two-state solution, international legal resolutions, agreements that have been signed, and also our rejection of terrorism and violence."
Abbas also saluted Chirac's support for Palestinians throughout his term as president, with three months left before he leaves office.
"You are a great head of state, a great friend, to whom we want to express a large amount of respect," he said.
First Published: Feb 24, 2007 18:22 IST