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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes European Parliament invitation to Palestinian President

1 February, 2006

Bairbre de Brún MEP has welcomed the invitation extended today by Josep Borrell MEP, the President of the European Parliament, to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, to address the European Parliament. President Borrell was speaking today at a meeting organised by the Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:

"The invitation to President Abbas is very good news for the Palestinian people, and holds out hope that the European Union will continue to engage with, and support, the Palestinian Authority.

"This long overdue invitation needs to be seen as a way of deepening EU engagement in the peace process between Palestine and Israel. A positive EU-Palestine relationship will show a concrete endorsement of the clear commitment to democracy shown by Palestinians in recent days.

"As I saw for myself, when visiting Palestine as an international observer for the elections, Palestinians across the political spectrum show a burning pride in the holding of multi-party elections, the open debate around political programmes and policies, and in the numbers that came out to vote.

"The international community needs to urgently and seriously address the continued Israeli occupation. The EU has an important role to play in this regard. The EU and the wider international community must assist Palestinians and Israelis in moving the peace process forward and seeing the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

"I look forward to welcoming President Abbas to the European Parliament and directly expressing my support for the Palestinian people" ENDS

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