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February 22, 2018 2:57 pm

Palestinian Authority President Abbas in US Hospital for Routine Checks, Official Says

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York City, Feb. 20, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Lucas Jackson.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has gone into hospital in the United States for a routine check, a senior Palestinian official told Reuters on Thursday.

“He is in the hospital now doing ordinary checks,” the official said by telephone, without giving further details.

Abbas, 82, addressed the UN Security Council in New York on Feb. 20 and called for an international conference to be held by mid-2018 to kick-start the stalled peace process with Israel.

He was expected to leave the US for Venezuela for an official visit, according to his office in Ramallah in the West Bank. That visit was scheduled to start on Feb. 21.

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In October 2016, Abbas was taken to hospital in the West Bank without prior public announcement for heart function tests which, a doctor said, showed normal results.

Abbas became PA president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.

There has been no new coverage of Abbas on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa since Feb. 20, when he met with delegations after his UN speech.

It is unusual for there to be a two-day gap in communication on Wafa about the president’s affairs when he has official engagements scheduled.

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