PA’s Abbas calls to congratulate Israel’s new president

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Israel’s new President Isaac Herzog to congratulate him upon entering office.

“I spoke this evening with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called to congratulate me on entering my new role,” tweeted Herzog. “I thanked him and stressed that it is my intention to continue to maintain ongoing contact with him as past presidents have.”

Herzog, whose role is mostly ceremonial, added that he hopes “to assist in advancing relations and with hopes for peace between two nations living side by side.”

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

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

According to the statement, Abbas also told Herzog of “the need to take practical steps on the ground to create the conditions for achieving 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 on 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 policies continue,” Erdogan said Saturday, according to the Anadolu News Agency.

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

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