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Abbas: Upcoming Mideast Conference an Opportunity for Peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says an upcoming U.S. conference is a historic opportunity for peace with Israel.

Mr. Abbas made the comment in a speech to tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah to mark the third anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

He vowed to work toward success at the conference. Israelis and Palestinians have been working to bridge differences ahead of the meeting. The Palestinians have been pressing for a detailed joint document addressing core issues, while the Israelis favor a general declaration of principles.

Mr. Abbas also called on Hamas to hand back control of the Gaza Strip, which the group seized in June.

On Saturday, the Palestinian president inaugurated a mausoleum in Ramallah for Mr. Arafat.

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