Peres calls on Palestinian leader not to quit

AP News
Posted: Nov 07, 2009 4:03 PM

Israel's president on Saturday called on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to rescind his decision to stand down, invoking the memory of Yitzhak Rabin at a public commemoration for the assassinated Israeli premier.

Shimon Peres spoke to a crowd of thousands at the square where Rabin was gunned down by a Jewish extremist who opposed his peace policies on Nov. 4, 1995.

Peres recalled that along with Rabin, he and Abbas were among signatories to the 1993 Oslo peace accord and he appealed to Abbas by name not to quit.

"We both signed the Oslo agreement," Peres said. "I turn to you as a colleague, don't let go."

Abbas announced Thursday that he would not run for another term in an election scheduled for January, citing deadlocked efforts to revive peace talks.

In a video message screened at Saturday's rally, President Barack Obama paid tribute to Rabin and pledged to keep trying to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

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"To all who seek peace I say tonight, you will always have a partner in the United States of America and in my administration," Obama said. "That's why we've been working aggressively for our clear goal, two states living side by side in peace and security."