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Palestinian President Visits Finland

During his visit to Finland, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the economic plight of his people as "very poor."

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Abbas called on the international community to help with financial aid. Both the EU and the United States have frozen aid since the victory of the extremist Hamas movement in recent elections.

Abbas said he would offer to restart peace talks with Israel after the formation of a new government in Tel Aviv.

During his visit, Abbas met with President Tarja Halonen and Foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja.

His visit to Finland comes at a time when he is facing increased political pressure from his own Hamas-led government. In such circumstances, many say he needs international support to secure his authority at home.

Before coming to Finland, President Abbas was in Norway, where he managed to secure an aid package worth 16 million euros. The aid will not be channeled through the Hamas government.

From Helsinki Abbas moved on to France Thursday afternoon.


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