President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan stressed yesterday the need for more efforts to be exerted to rally behind the Palestinian people.

Sheikh Zayed, who made his remarks during talks with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at Al Bahr Palace here, also called for pooling all possible energies to defend the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights, and to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.

The two leaders exchanged views on the latest developments in the Palestinian territories in light of Israeli criminal acts which threaten regional peace. They also underlined the need for forging a common affective Arab position to deal with the current challenges.

Arafat, on his turn, paid tribute to Sheikh Zayed for his firm stances in support of the Palestinian cause.

Later, Arafat left Abu Dhabi and was seen off by a number of senior officials. Arafat flew back to Gaza to deal with clashes between his security forces and armed Palestinian groups, a Palestinian official said yesterday. Arafat was due to leave for Jordan but clashes forced him to go to Gaza, the official said.