Establishment of a new Palestinian Government led by Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is a major step toward peace, Nabeel Shaath, the Minister for Planning and International Cooperation in the new Palestinian Government said in an interview to the Egyptian Radio. The new Government's chief objective, he pointed out, is to put an end to the ongoing Israeli occupation and set up an independent Palestinian state. Nabeel Shaath stressed that as soon as the parliament granted the Abu Mazen Government a vote of confidence, the latter would start implementing a large-scale program primarily targeting termination of Israeli occupation and establishment of an independent Palestinian state. This, he pointed out, will bring about resumption of the Middle East peace process.
Commenting on the proposed road map for peaceful settlement, Nabeel Shaath said that it "requires Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories, stop its policy of aggression and blockade, and renounce its ongoing land settlement strategy. The Palestinians, in turn, will need to abandon what is called violent actions and follow the path leading to talks on creation of an independent Palestinian state".
Nabeel Shaath is certain that implementation of the above steps will require the presence of a large group of international observers in the region to monitor the two sides' compliance with the peaceful settlement plan drawn up by "the Middle East quartet" - the USA, Russia, the EU and UN.
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