Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Nine Arab foreign ministers who met in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday declared their support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, said.

Shaikh Abdullah told WAM after the meeting that it was held "as part of the ongoing consultations among Arab states to boost Arab solidarity, as outlined by the speech made by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the Kuwait Economic Summit."

The ministers have also reaffirmed their support to the Egyptian initiative to secure a durable ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and discussed steps to pave the way for the Gaza reconstruction conference, to be held in Cairo on 22 February.

Shaikh Abdullah said the ministers have "reaffirmed their support for the Arab peace initiative and reiterated their strong support for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under the leadership of President Abbas and to the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of Palestinians."

Sources close to the meeting told Gulf News the ministers also discussed, as part of the Egyptian plan, how to restart reconciliation talks between the PNA and Hamas. Abbas has said he was open to talk to form a unity government with Hamas.

"The ministers are keen to bring Hamas into the plan to curtail Iran's influence in the region," the source said.

Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in Abu Dhabi yesterday and called for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and the opening of crossings into the strip. "We must have a ceasefire, durable and sustainable," he told journalists. "All the crossings must be open to make the ceasefire durable," he said.

- With additional inputs from WAM