Remarks With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
PRESIDENT ABBAS: (Via interpreter) As usual, I would like to welcome very much Dr. Rice. She is visiting us these days. As usual, we always maintain a direct contact with her either through visits or by phone calls.
And as you all know, she said during her last visit that I will be back in three weeks, and sure enough in three weeks she is back in order to discuss very important political issues that are taking place these days.
And among the most prominent issues that we will be discussing today, the upcoming trilateral meeting that will take place tomorrow with Mr. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister. In that meeting, we will be exploring the political horizon, we will be discussing the Israeli-Palestinian issues, and most importantly we will be discussing issues of peace between the two parties.
And of course, we will also be discussing the Mecca agreement, that agreement that took place in the Holy Land of Mecca under the sponsorship of His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. And there will be other additional details that will be the subject of our conversations today.
At the end, I would like once again to express my admiration for the activities of Secretary of State Rice and I would like to take this opportunity to convey my warmest regard to President Bush and his interest in Middle East issues as well as our issues and peace in the region.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for welcoming me here yet again and for offering me lunch yet again. I look forward to it very much. (Laughter.)
We are here to discuss issues of Palestinian life and issues of peace. And it is, of course, an interesting, even complicated time. And I have been saying, Mr. President, that a number of people said it's a complicated time and I said that if I waited for an uncomplicated time to come to the Middle East, perhaps I would never get on the airplane. (Laughter.)
So I look very much forward to discussing the current situation with you, hearing more about your discussions in Saudi Arabia. I look forward to discussing with you the trilateral that we will have with Prime Minister Olmert tomorrow. I hope that this meeting with the three of us will be an opportunity to examine the current situation, to commit to — recommit to existing agreements, but also to begin to explore and probe the political and diplomatic horizon. And I very much look forward to that meeting.
I want to thank you for your personal commitment to peace, a commitment that is longstanding and that has led the Palestinian people to international agreements that recognize the importance of the two-state solution and all that goes with it. And so I look forward to working with you and I look forward to our discussions today and tomorrow.
PRESIDENT ABBAS: Thank you.