Abbas to Meet Canadian PM

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to make an official visit to Canada on Tuesday, before heading to the U.S. to meet with President Obama.

Yehudah Lev Kay,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Israel News Photo: file

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to make an official visit to Canada on Tuesday, before heading to the U.S. to meet with President Barack Obama later in the week.

While in Canada, Abbas will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Opposition Leaders Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Abbas will also inaugurate new PA offices in Ottawa, in his first visit to the North American country since 2005.

Critics of the Conservative Canadian government speculated whether Abbas’ visit might signal a change in the country’s foreign policy, which has been decidedly pro-Israel since the new administration took office in 2006.

The Harper government was the first to suspend aid to the PA after Hamas won the PA government elections in 2006. Canada has listed Hamas as a terrorist group since 2002.

The Canadian government largely sided with Israel during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and the North American nation was also the first to boycott the "Durban II" United Nations racism conference, claiming it had a decided anti-Israel bias.

Prime Minister Harper said he looked forward to meeting the PA leader. “We continue to work in good faith with President Abbas,” he said, “whom the government of Canada recognizes as a legitimate representative of Palestinian interests in the wider Middle East.”

“Canada is committed to the peace process in the Middle East,” Harper added. “We continue to support regional leaders who share our commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations.”





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