After a ninety-minute meeting between the French President Jacques Chirac and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Paris, Abbas stated that the bilateral talks were positive and that Chirac expressed his support of the Mecca unity deal.Chirac said that the Mecca unity deal helped in uniting the Palestinians in order to remain focused on their national interests, and that France will remain in support to the Palestinian people and their struggle for an independent state living in peace beside Israel.

Chirac also called for the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and said that the release of Shalit will be considered a step forward that will garner more support to the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, president Abbas stated that Europe must play an effective role in the peace process, adding that the Mecca unity deal between the Palestinian factions helped in stopping the internal clashes that led to enormous civilian casualties.

Abbas added that the Arab League will be holding a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday in order to follow-up on the Arab peace initiative.

Also, Abbas informed Chirac of the deteriorating economic situation in the Palestinian territories due to the Israeli attacks, and the siege imposed on the Palestinian people. On his part, Chirac stated that he believes that this embargo should be lifted.

Responding to a question regarding the Palestinian response on the comments of EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Walder regarding the delay of support to the Palestinians, Abbas said that the Palestinians will try to overcome the difficulties, and will act on order to positively develop the European position regarding the unity government.  

Abbas added that the world must realize that if the siege is not lifted, and if the new government remains isolated,  the outcome will be bad for the Palestinians who are already suffering under occupation, and suffering from the international embargo.

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