Mr. Annan arrived for the meeting with the leader of the Palestinian Authority from Israel on the latest leg of his regional tour to promote the full implementation of resolution 1701 that ended the month-long conflict in Lebanon, which he emphasized should not be allowed to divert attention from the plight of the Palestinians. “The suffering of the Palestinian people must not be forgotten… I have made my feelings known in talks with Israeli officials. Beyond preserving life, we have to sustain life. The closure of Gaza must be lifted. Crossing points must be opened not just to allow goods in, but to also allow Palestinian exports out as well,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with Mr. Abbas in Ramallah. “I also discussed with President Abbas his ongoing efforts with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to form a National Unity Government. This is a very important process. If the Palestinians can unite around a common and realistic programme, and if this can help bring the security situation under control, it would be a very positive step indeed.” Mr. Annan said he had also spoken with the President about efforts to release the abducted Israeli soldier who was kidnapped in June. The meeting also focused on ending the rocket attacks and Israeli incursions, as well as Mr. Abbas’ long-standing demands for progress on Palestinian prisoners. “The immediate problems are those of daily life. And I mean ‘life’ quite literally. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed since the end of June. This must stop immediately.” “I fully agreed that an end to the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel is key to resolving the problems of this troubled region.” From Ramallah, Mr. Annan flew to Jordan, where he is scheduled to hold meetings with Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khativ and King Abdullah tomorrow. He will then continue his regional diplomatic initiative with stops planned in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey.