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Palestinian leader undergoes heart procedure

Mahmoud Abbas

(CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent a successful minor heart procedure, one of his top advisers said Wednesday in an interview with WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency.

The procedure was carried out Tuesday in a hospital in Amman, Jordan.

Abbas, 70, has been discharged and plans to return Friday to Ramallah, adviser Tayeb Abdul Rahman told the news agency.

Abbas was born in 1935 in the town of Saffed, which became part of Israel in 1948.

His family fled to Syria, where Abbas graduated from Damascus University with a law degree. He is one of the few Palestinians to study Israeli history and politics.

Less than a week ago, Abbas met with President Bush in Washington, the first White House talks in five years between U.S. and Palestinian leaders.

Bush had refused to meet with Abbas' predecessor, Yasser Arafat, accusing him of supporting terrorism.

After meeting with Abbas, Bush pledged $50 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority.

It was the first direct aid the United States has given to the Palestinian Authority. Previous donations have gone through non-governmental organizations.

Bush met previously with Abbas in 2003, when he served as the first Palestinian prime minister.

As prime minister, Abbas signed the "road map" sponsored by the Mideast Quartet of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Shortly after the signing and with just four months in office, he quit -- accusing Arafat of undermining his authority by refusing to give him control of the authority's security organizations.

After Arafat's death, Abbas was elected to replace him as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Then, Arafat's Fatah movement picked Abbas to be its candidate in the race for Palestinian Authority president, which he won.

When Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to the Oslo peace accords in 1993, Abbas was one of the major players behind the scenes who made it happen.

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