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de Brún welcomes Palestinian President

4 February, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

de Brún welcomes Palestinian President
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the address by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the European Parliament.

Ms de Brún said:

"It is hugely important that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the European Parliament at this difficult time for all his people. The fact that the European Parliament has invited Mahmoud Abbas to address it is also a symbolic assertion of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

"For Palestinians, President Abbas has an important role to play in bringing about inclusive negotiations supported by the broadest possible range of political opinion in Palestine.

"As an international observer in the elections in 2006 to the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority, I saw democracy in action; I saw a free and fair election. Later this month I will be part of a cross-party delegation of MEPs visiting Israel and Palestine. I will be making the case for an end to Israeli aggression, the immediate implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, and for all obstacles to the distribution of emergency aid and the restoration of basic services to be lifted immediately.

"In such a situation of crisis, words of welcome by the European Parliament to the Palestinian President are important and symbolic, but they are not enough. The European Union is duty bound to exert political and economic pressure on the Israeli government to bring them to respect basic human rights. Any notion of upgrading EU-Israel relations should be dropped until Israel meets its obligations under international law.

"I hope that today's visit by President Abbas will mark the beginning of a new commitment by the EU to meet its obligations in this regard." ENDS

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