The President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, in New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly, this Tuesday, September 25, thanked Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for Brazil having received Palestinian refugees.
Last Friday, September 21, a group of 35 Palestinians who lived in the Jordanian desert arrived in Brazil. Now, they will live in the states of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul.
The meeting that Lula and the Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, had with Abbas was part of the agenda in the sidelines of the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations.
According to the press office at the Brazilian foreign office (Itamaraty), Abbas stated that the gesture of Brazil, upon welcoming the refugees, shows the country's commitment with peace.
According to the press office, during the meeting, Abbas showed optimism regarding the advancement of the peace process in his country. The Palestinian president invited Lula to participate in the conference for peace in the Middle East, which should be held in Washington, United States, in November.
The conference, which was the subject of a meeting held on Sunday between the president of the United States, George W. Bush, and Mahmoud Abbas, is an initiative of the United States government. The United States, along with the European Union, UN, and Russia, is part of the mediating quartet for peace in the Middle East.
Bush said that the United States are going to work hard for the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state, one that lives in peace with its neighboring country, Israel.
According to the Itamaraty, Abbas stated, during the meeting with Lula, that it would be important for Brazil to participate in the conference as a regional leader. President Lula, according to the press office, has already answered affirmatively to the Palestinian leader.
Abbas also invited the president of Brazil to visit his country, Palestine. Lula has never been to the Palestine as a president, but Abbas has already visited him in Brazil.
Abbas participated in the Summit of Arab-South American Countries, held in May 2005 in Brazilian capital Brasília, by initiative of president Lula. At the time, during a meeting of the two heads of state, Lula said that Brazil is willing to collaborate with the Arab country in the peace process for the region.
The two leaders have been building close ties during their administrations. Abbas sent his compliments to Lula when he was re-elected, and also praised his initiative of promoting the Summit of South American-Arab Countries.
In July this year, Mahmoud Abbas sent to Brasília a representative of his administration, Musa Amer Odeh, to ask for help and advice from president Lula in order to establish peace in his country.
Brazil also sent observers to the elections that took place in the Palestine in January 2005, when president Mahmoud Abbas was elected, and in January last year, to the election of the local parliament.
Palestine is a member of the League of Arab States and the seat of the government is in Ramallah. The country is facing difficulties in developing its economy due to the local conflicts, but the main productive activities are agriculture, food industry, shoes, ore export and the furniture sector.
Last year the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Palestine reached US$ 4.7 billion.
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