Abbas confirms medical checks and says results 'positive'


Palestinian president had been due to travel on to Venezuela, but is now returning to the West Bank

Abbas, speaking at the UN (Reuters)
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Last update: 
Friday 23 February 2018 9:35 UTC

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that he went into hospital in the United States for medical checks, saying in a television interview that the results were "positive".

Abbas, 82, flew to the United States to address the UN Security Council in New York on 20 February. He had been expected to travel on to Venezuela, but on Thursday Palestinian officials confirmed that he was still in the United States and was undergoing routine medical checks in the city of Baltimore.

Abbas confirmed this late on Thursday, after the tests.

"Our presence here was a suitable chance for us to make some medical checks," Abbas told Palestine TV during a short interview. "We actually made those checks and we are out now and, thank God, all results are positive and are assuring. This is God's blessing on us."

Palestinian officials said he would be returning to the West Bank on Friday. They did not disclose when Abbas went into hospital nor the nature of the medical checks.

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

There had been no new coverage of Abbas on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa since 20 February, 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.