Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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Palestinians Are Focus in Abbas Visit to Baghdad

Posted by claudiacampli su 8 aprile, 2009



Published: April 5, 2009

BAGHDAD — Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, visited Iraq for the first time since the American invasion in 2003, meeting with Iraqi leaders on Sunday to garner support for the Palestinian leadership and Iraq’s Palestinian community.

The latest in a long line of Arab leaders who have come to Iraq to show encouragement for the Iraqi government, Mr. Abbas met with the president, Jalal Talabani, and the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, in Baghdad. Among the issues they discussed were financial assistance for the Palestinians, preferential prices on crude oil and political support in the Palestinian leadership’s dealings with Israel, said Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari.

They also discussed the status and resettlement possibilities of the 2,300 Palestinians stranded in two refugee camps on the Iraq-Syria border.

Mr. Zebari said that the Iraqi leaders assured Mr. Abbas that they would support his government in substantial, and not just symbolic, ways.

“Gone are those days when Iraq and other countries used to use the Palestinian issue for political bargaining or score settling,” Mr. Zebari said.

Saddam Hussein awarded special privileges to Palestinians in Iraq, including free homes in middle-class neighborhoods and secure government jobs, to bolster his reputation as a leader of the Arabs and a fighter against Western oppression. But Iraq’s Palestinians, who numbered about 60,000 in 2003, faced bloody reprisals at the hands of Shiite militias after Mr. Hussein’s downfall. Now there are about 11,000 Palestinians in Iraq, most of them in Baghdad’s Baladiyat neighborhood, a majority Shiite area, said Daniel Endres, head of the Iraq office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nevertheless, saying that the government had taken steps to address their problems, Mr. Abbas thanked the Iraqi leadership for its treatment of the Palestinians.

“The Iraqi government considers them as part of the Iraqi people and part of the government’s concern and a part of Iraqi security,” he said. “We are sure they are in safe hands.”

Also on Sunday, the United States military said that an American soldier had been charged with murder in the shooting death of a foreign contractor in Taji, an area north of Baghdad where a large base is located. The soldier, Pfc. Carl T. Stovall III, 25, of Kennesaw, Ga., has been in custody since March 26, the day of the shooting, the military said in a statement. No further details were released.

Attacks continued around Iraq on Sunday. In Samarra, north of Baghdad, a police officer was killed and four others were wounded when someone threw a Molotov cocktail into their vehicle, local security officials said. A police major in Falluja was killed by a roadside bomb that exploded as his patrol was passing.

In the violent city of Mosul, gunmen killed one civilian and wounded another, and a child was killed by a roadside bomb, Iraqi security officials said.

Alissa J. Rubin contributed reporting.



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