Abbas demands talks on further Gaza pullout

Associated Press Even after its pullout from the Gaza Strip, Israel will be occupying some Palestinian land in the coastal strip, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in remarks published Saturday. Abbas spoke just two weeks before Israel was to withdraw its last soldiers from Gaza, following the demolition of 21 Jewish settlements there. The Palestinians contend that several border crossings were built by Israel on Gaza land and should be moved as part of the pullout. „There are lands in eastern and northern Gaza (such as Karni and Erez border crossings -A.R) still under occupation,” Abbas said in an interview published Saturday in the Palestinian daily Al Quds. „We need to renegotiate the details and get back to the real border,” Abbas said, referring to the frontier between Israel and Gaza that existed before the 1967 Middle East War. Abbas also commented on the dispute raging between Israel and the PA over the right to inspect traffic entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt. The PA chairman said that Israeli inspection was unacceptable and instead suggested that a joint Palestinian-Egyptian force will be set-up to scan in-going goods to Gaza. Israel had yet to give her response to such a proposal, Abbas said. Abbas, Sharon, to meet after UN Assembly meeting On Friday, Jerusalem sources said Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will meet at the end of September, after the two return from a United Nations General Assembly meeting on September 19. Sharon will meet with United States President George W. Bush at the UN General Assembly meeting, but is not expected to meet with Abbas. Abbas called Vice Premier Shimon Peres on Friday and expressed his appreciation for the contribution made by Peres and the Labor party to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Abbas told Peres that the Palestinians would like the Gaza pullout to be the first phase of a process that will lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. BPI-info