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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 08:58 GMT
Abbas 'will not be leader again'
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Mr Abbas has said his current term in office will his final one
Mahmoud Abbas has said he will not run for office again when his current term as president of the Palestinian Authority ends in three years.

"I will just complete my remaining three years in office," he said. "I will not run again. That is absolute."

Mr Abbas' remarks were published in Palestinian newspapers roughly a year after elections that confirmed him as a successor to late leader Yasser Arafat.

Mr Abbas also said he is ready to work with acting Israeli leader Ehud Olmert.

Mr Olmert took over the reins of state after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered a coma early in January.

Elections or no elections Hamas will always be a force to be contend with
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

"I have dealt with him and I know him well," Mr Abbas said of Mr Olmert.

"He has his positions and his views but we will deal with him without any preconceptions."

Regarding the next elections for the Palestinian leadership, due in three years, Mr Abbas said: "I could run again, I know that, but I can tell you that this will not happen."

Palestinian parliamentary polls later this month are expected to reveal strong support for Hamas, the main political rival to Mr Abbas' Fatah party.

The 70-year-old Mr Abbas took over the Palestinian leadership after the death of Yasser Arafat.

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