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05 November 2009 

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Abbas Aides: Palestinian Leader Will Not Seek Re-Election

05 November 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (File)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (File)
Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas does not plan to run for re-election in January.

Mr. Abbas announced his decision at a meeting of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and is expected to give a speech on the issue later Thursday.

Officials say the Palestinian leader is frustrated with the lack of progress being made in the peace process with Israel.

He has threatened to step down in the past as a negotiating tactic, and it is unclear whether his latest threat of resignation will hold.

Senior Palestinian officials are trying to persuade Mr. Abbas to reverse his decision.

Whether or not he decides to run for re-election, it is unclear how the January elections will proceed since Mr. Abbas's government does not control the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas militant group won parliamentary elections in Gaza in 2006, and seized control of the area a year later.

Palestinian officials say Mr. Abbas is upset with the United States for not putting more pressure on Israel to relent to Palestinian demands.

The Palestinians want Israel to freeze all construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.  The Palestinians want the land for a future state.

The Obama administration had supported that condition earlier this year, but U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backtracked last week, calling for unconditional talks.

Mr. Abbas has led the Palestinian peace effort with Israel since becoming president of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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