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PM Abbas to Visit Kuwait, Saudi, UAE and Tunisia


PM Abbas to Visit Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Tunisia

President Yasser Arafat received Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas in his battered headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah Wednesday ahead of a Palestinian premier’s Arab tour, which will take him to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Kuwait and Tunisia.

Abbas, on his first visit to Saudi Arabia after becoming prime minister, will discuss the outcome of his recent visit to Washington with the kingdom's leaders, Palestinian representative to Saudi Arabia Mustafa Sheikh Dib told AFP.

The talks will focus on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the "continued Israeli aggressions against the Palestinians and the construction of the so-called security fence," Dib said.

Abbas is scheduled to leave the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday for Abu Dhabi where he will hold similar talks with UAE leaders.

The last leg of his tour will be a landmark visit to Kuwait marking an improvement in relations with the emirate after 13 years of strained ties.

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said Tuesday that Abbas was welcome to visit the emirate "any time.”

"We reserve special affection for the Kuwaiti leadership and people. The main cause for the clouds that overshadowed the relations between us has disappeared," Dib said in reference to ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

The main purpose of Abbas's two-day visit to Kuwait is to restore bilateral ties to their pre-Iraqi invasion level, he added.

Abbas will be the highest-ranking Palestinian official to visit Kuwait since 1990 when the emirate accused the Palestinians of supporting Iraq's August invasion.

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) Minister of Information Nabil Amre, who will accompany Abbas in his tour, told Al Quds daily on Thursday: “The Kuwait visit is an important stop towards restoring the normal ties with brotherly Kuwait, especially as these ties have historic significance, which go back in their roots to the beginning of the Palestinian revolution.”

Amre added that PM Abbas will also visit Tunisia for talks with President Zain el-A’abideen bin Ali.

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