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Palestinian leader Abbas tells William of hopes for independent state

William became the first member of the monarchy to make an official trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on behalf of the Government.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has told the Duke of Cambridge he hopes his homeland will be a fully independent state the next time he returns to the Middle East.

William made history with his visit to the offices of the Palestinian Authority president, becoming the first member of the monarchy to make an official trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on behalf of the Government.

The two men sat down for talks a day after William was tasked by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin with taking a “message of peace” in a bid to rekindle relationships with the Arab leader.

In his comments to the duke, the Palestinian leader reaffirmed his “full commitment to achieving a full and lasting peace based on a two-state solution where the state of Palestine lives side by side with the state of Israel, with both supervising peace and security”.

Mr Abbas went on to say: “Your royal highness Prince William, it is my honour to receive you in Palestine for your first visit.

“I hope this will not be the last visit … that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our full independence.

“Your royal highness, your visit to us will deepen and strengthen the ties between our two peoples.

“We are always in need of your constant support … in our just cause which has taken a long, long, long time and is not solved.”

The president’s comments are consistent with his position on the long-term resolution to the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

He went on to tell William: “On this occasion, your royal highness, allow me to specify two things – number one, my full commitment to achieving a just and lasting peace based on a two-state solution where the state of Palestine lives side by side with the state of Israel, with both supervising peace and security.

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The Duke of Cambridge arrives for a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in the Office of the President in Ramallah (Joe Giddens/PA)

“This is our position, I reiterate it today, this will not change…

“We are fully committed, your highness, along with you (to do) our best to fight terrorism, whether domestically, regionally and internationally.

“Therefore we have agreements with many nations on earth, including yours, to fight terrorism and I’m sure that this will be one of our subjects for discussion today. Thank you.”

In response, Prince William thanked Mr Abbas for his welcome and revealed his hopes for “peace for the region”.

He said: “President, I’d just like to say, what pleasure it is to be here today.

“Thank you for your very warm welcome. It is my first visit, what you pointed to and I’m very much looking forward to meeting some Palestinians today and seeing some of the culture and the diversity of Palestinians and their way of life, so thank you for welcoming me and I’m very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past and long may that continue.

“My sentiments are the same as yours in hoping there is a lasting peace for the region, so thank you.”

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