"Peace is our strategic goal, and it is in the interest of everyone, and the key for peace lies in Israel ending its occupation and lifting the historical injustice and the reality that it has inflicted on our people, so the two states, Palestine and Israel, can live in security, stability and peace," Abbas said at a joint press conference with visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Bethlehem.
Abbas also expressed his condolences to the Italian president regarding the victims of the recent earthquake that hit the country.
The Italian president noted that the "conditions are appropriate" to advance the peace process and stressed the importance of the support by the international community so that the Israeli-Palestinian issue would not remain a sideline issue on the international agenda.
Relations between Israel and Palestine have been shattered for decades. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.