PA Abbas calls for congratulations on new Israeli president

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas phoned new Israeli President Isaac Herzog to congratulate him on taking office.

“I spoke tonight with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called me to congratulate me on taking my new post,” Herzog tweeted. “I thanked him and stressed that I intended to continue to maintain constant contact with him, as the past presidents have done.”

Herzog, whose role is mainly ceremonial, added that he hopes “to help advance relations and hope for peace between two nations living side by side.”

Abbas’s office confirmed the phone call, adding that the two heads of state discussed tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The president stressed the need to achieve a comprehensive truce in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” the Palestinian Authority presidency said in a statement released by the official WAFA news agency.

According to the statement, Abbas also told Herzog “the need to take practical steps on the ground to create the conditions for a just and comprehensive peace.”

Former opposition leader Herzog took office as president last week, succeeding Reuven Rivlin, for a seven-year term.

Abbas is currently in Istanbul for a three-day visit to Turkey. On Saturday, Abbas met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Turkish-PA relations as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It will not be possible to establish lasting peace and stability in the region as long as Israel’s policy continues,” Erdogan said on Saturday, according to the Anadolu news agency.

According to WAFA, Abbas “briefed Erdogan on recent discussions with the US administration” on the two-state solution, as well as “respecting the historic status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

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