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Merkel to Abbas: No deal until recognition

Mahmoud Abbas agreed with E.U. officials that any Palestinian government must recognize Israel and renounce violence. The Palestinian Authority president visited Germany and Belgium on Friday as part of a tour aimed at lifting a Western embargo on direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. The international community stopped dealing with the Palestinian Authority after the terrorist group Hamas assumed governance last March. Earlier this month, Abbas, who heads the relatively moderate Fatah Party, brokered a national unity deal with Hamas under which the group pledged to “respect” previous agreements with Israel. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, said after meeting Abbas that that was not enough. “We welcome the formation of a national unity government, under the condition that certain measures are fulfilled,” she said. “That would mean that Israel’s right to exist would be recognized, that violence would end and that international negotiations, as they already exist, be accepted.” Javier Solana, the E.U. foreign policy chief, echoed those comments later in Brussels, and Abbas said he agreed. “We remain committed to the two-state solution, the recognition of Israel, renouncing violence and terror,” he said.