GAZA, Jan 11, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Newly elected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has informed Washington that he will not seek to disarm Palestinian militant groups.
Abbas relayed the message to the U.S. administration through former U.S. Consul in Jerusalem Edward Epington, the Saudi daily al-Watan reported Tuesday, quoting diplomatic sources in Washington.
Abbas argued that Palestinian armed groups did not pose the main problem in the Palestinian territories at this point.
He said clearly that 'he will not seek to disarm the militant groups, not now nor tomorrow' and that the first step should be working out a cease-fire 'after Israel agrees in writing to stop pre-emptive assassinations of Palestinian leaders.'
Abbas also stressed that his first priority will be reforming Palestinian institutions, combating corruption and restructuring the 14 security agencies.