U.S. sees Abbas in continuing role

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration expects to keep working with Mahmoud Abbas despite his planned resignation as Palestinian Authority president.

"We respect Mr. Abbas, we think that he is an important player in this whole process," Ian Kelly, the State Department spokesman, said Nov. 5. "He’s been an important interlocutor for us, and we respect his work and we look forward to continuing to work with him.

Abbas announced last week that he would not run in scheduled January elections.

Earlier Nov. 5, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Abbas had apprised her of his intentions when she met him during her visit to the region over the previous weekend.

"In each of those conversations, he described in great detail the challenges that he faces, and we talked about his own political future," Clinton said in a press availability with the German foreign minister. "He reiterated his personal commitment to do whatever he can to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that he’s actually been working on since 1972."

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