Abbas to hold talks with Saudi king ahead of Bush Mideast tour

By Xinhua

Riyadh : Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz met here Saturday with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to coordinate their stance over the Middle East peace process ahead of U.S. President George W. Bush’s coming visit to the region.

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King Abdullah and President Abbas discussed the latest developments following the recently held U.S.-sponsored Annapolis conference on the Mideast peace, said the Saudi state news agency SPA.

The meeting also addressed Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and internal situation in Palestine as well as international efforts made to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state, SPA added.

Abbas arrived here Saturday noon ahead of U.S. President Bush’s coming visit to the region, which takes him to Israel, Palestine, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Bush is expected to press Israel and Palestinians to accelerate their recently revived peace talks.

In November the United States hosted a high-profile Annapolis conference gathering Israeli and Arab officials in a bid to revive peace talks that had been frozen for nearly seven years.

During the conference, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to forge ahead with efforts to reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008, paving the way for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.