Abbas sees more borders crossings; Blair urges him to stay with talks for two-state solution

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday last week's opening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will be soon be followed by more.

"We'll have more crossing in the future," Abbas told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Palestinians and Israelis are debating making more crossings available for both people and cargo before the end of the year, including a bus service linking Gaza and Palestinian territories on the West Bank.

The Rafah crossing to Egypt is supervised by EU monitors under a deal with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with Israelis observing it by remote control camera.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the EU stood ready to help at more border crossings.

"We have to give the Palestinians the chance to export their goods," she said on the sidelines of a meeting between the EU leaders and those of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

"We have to see what else we can do, but in principle we are ready to support" efforts open more border crossings, she added.

Blair encouraged Abbas to continue with "the right dialogue with Israel" to get to a two-state solution and "progress on the Palestinian side in economic development."

He called that "an important strategic objective for the whole of the international community.", AP reported. V.A.

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