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Source: Palestinian Authority
6 January 2005



Dr. Shaath in a press conference with his Turkish counterpart: pushing peace process must be the top priority for International community

FM Dr. Nabeel Shaath welcomed yesterday his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in his office in Ramallah.

In a joint press Mr. Gul, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, said that a positive atmosphere had emerged to solve the Middle East problem.

''Turkey would do its best to contribute to the Middle East peace process'', Gul said.

Stressing friendly relations between Turkey and Palestine, Gul added, ''we will continue to strongly support Palestinian cause.''

Gul recalled that Turkey was among the countries who formally recognize the Palestinian state, and expressed hope that Palestinian state would be founded on Palestinian territories and that troubles of Palestinians people would end as soon as possible.

Asked what contribution Turkey could make, Dr. Shaath pointed to the need to shore up Palestinian security forces "but above all to continue pushing the peace process, to end settlement activity and move towards negotiations.

"In that matter we would welcome a role by Turkey," he said Wednesday.

Reminding that presidential elections would be held (in Palestine) very soon, Gul said, ''as the Turkish government, we believe that these elections will yield success.

We also believe that the Palestinians will be successful to put into force their own democratic process. Thus, they will enter into a new era which will astonish the entire world.''

Turkey would be in consultation and cooperation with Palestinian people during that process, Gul noted.

Pointing out that Turkey had prepared special programs regarding economic and social needs of the Palestinian people, Gul said that he would hold positive and constructive talks with the Palestinian leaders.

Gul expressed honor to be the first foreign minister ever to make a speech at the Palestinian Legislative Council.

FM Gul said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was planning to visit Palestine soon.

Answering a question, Gul said that Turkey's interest in the region (the Middle East) was not new, and went on saying, ''Turkey can't stay indifferent to this region, because it has historical ties (with it).

Therefore, Turkish governments have always exerted efforts to solve the (Middle East) problem. Now, there is a new momentum and positive developments can emerge.

I believe that there is much Turkey can do as a unique country which has relations with both parties and which is trusted by both of them. Turkey is active regarding this matter, and there are too many things it can do in coming days. Maybe, it is early to talk about these for the moment.''

Replying to another question, Gul said that the main issue he discussed during his meetings in Israel was how to assure a lasting and comprehensive peace. He added, ''Israel's withdrawal from Gaza Strip is a one-sided decision. This is not a part of the road map or any other thing.''

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