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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Palestine's Abbas rejects reports he was rushed to US hospital

The health of the longtime smoker has long been the subject of speculation, with no clear successor identified

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters in New York on February 20, 2018. Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters in New York on February 20, 2018. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas appeared on local television on Friday to downplay concerns over his health after undergoing what were described as routine tests in the United States.

In an interview with Palestine TV while in the US, the 82-year-old rejected reports that he had been rushed to hospital during his visit.

"It was a suitable opportunity to be here to conduct some medical tests, and these tests have been conducted and now we left," he said after leaving hospital.

"Thank God all the results are positive and reassuring."

The health of the longtime smoker has long been the subject of speculation, with no clear successor identified.

Mr Abbas was in the US to meet with political allies amid a breakdown of communication with the Trump administration following the president controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Abbas calls for Middle East peace conference by middle of year

How young Palestinians lost faith in the old men of Fatah

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Mr Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which wants to see the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, says the US has disqualified itself as a mediator in talks with Israel and has cut political ties with the Trump administration.

Donald Trump is expected to propose a peace plan in the coming months.

Mr Abbas has been in power since winning presidential elections in 2005.

He has remained in the role despite his initial mandate expiring, with splits between the Palestinian factions making fresh elections impossible.

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