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Palestinians ready to take over the Gaza Strip, says Abbas

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Amman (dpa) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Wednesday that the Palestinians were "capable" of governing the Gaza Strip after the planned Israeli pullout, but said a successful withdrawal from the territory would depend how "sincere" Israel is in implementing the plan.

"The Palestinian Authority is capable of running affairs at Gaza,but the responsibility lies with the Israeli side in being ready for (the pullout)," Abbas told reporters after talks with King Abdullah of Jordan.

"The more sincere and cooperative the Israeli side, the better the chances for a smooth withdrawal," he said.

In a private meeting the Palestinian president briefed the Jordanian leader on "steps and preparations taken by the Palestinian Authority for the post-pullout era", said a statement from the Royal Court.

For his part, the Jordanian monarch warned against "any inter-Palestinian differences at this juncture and urged all Palestinian factions to take part in rebuilding the institutions that will form the nucleus of the Palestinian state."

King Abdullah also "considered a successful pullout from Gaza to lie in the continuation of the peace process, so that the withdrawal from Gaza should lead to successful withdrawal from the West Bank and the setting up of a Palestinian state as provided for in the road map", the statement added.

Abbas made a stop-over in Amman on his way back home from Riyadh, where he attended the funeral of the late Saudi King Fahd. dpa cb sc

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