Germany's Merkel, Palestinian's Abbas back ceasefire efforts

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President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool

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BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Thursday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the current conflict in the Middle East, with both agreeing to support efforts to reach a ceasefire, Merkel's spokesman said.

"Merkel and President Abbas agreed that the initiatives for a speedy ceasefire should be further supported," he said in a statement.

Merkel also underlined Israel's right to self-defence in the face of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the statement said.

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Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Kirsti Knolle

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