Chirac sees hope for peace in Abbas' election

10th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 10 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac Monday congratulated Mahmud Abbas for winning a weekend election to become Yasser Arafat's successor as Palestinian leader, saying it gave rise to new hope for peace in the region.

PARIS, Jan 10 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac Monday congratulated Mahmud Abbas for winning a weekend election to become Yasser Arafat's successor as Palestinian leader, saying it gave rise to new hope for peace in the region.

He also said he was dispatching his foreign minister, Michel Barnier, to the region "in the coming weeks" with a personal message and invited Abbas to visit Paris "as soon as possible".

"It is up to you now to put Palestine on the path to peace with Israel," Chirac said in a message made public by the Elysee palace.

"You represent, for all Palestinians, a hope for a settlement based upon dialogue and justice. I am convinced that all your fellow citizens, and also the other people in the region, can count on your legitimacy and your experience to move in a direction of wisdom and openness."

Chirac pledged French and EU support to helping Abbas find a solution to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas, the 69-year-old chairman of the PLO, was elected Palestinian president with more than 62 percent of the votes cast, according to official results on Monday.

The French president hailed the way the Palestinian election was carried out and told Abbas: "Before and after the passing of president Arafat, you have been able to promote, with courage and determination, the principles of democracy and the rule of law in Palestine."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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