Bangkok Post

Ab­bas urges UN-led peace talks

PALES­TINIAN LEADER STILL AF­TER STATE­HOOD

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>>GAZA/NEW YORK: Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas on Fri­day called for United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res to con­vene an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence early next year to launch “a gen­uine peace process” be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans.

Mr Ab­bas urged Mr Guter­res to work with the Mid­dle East Quar­tet of me­di­a­tors — the United States, Rus­sia, the Euro­pean Union and the UN — and the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on a con­fer­ence “with full author­ity and with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all con­cerned par­ties, early next year, to en­gage in a gen­uine peace process.” The Pales­tini­ans want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal, all ter­ri­tory cap­tured by Is­rael in 1967. Pales­tinian lead­ers re­jected a peace pro­posal un­veiled in Jan­uary by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, in which Washington would recog­nise Jewish set­tle­ments in oc­cu­pied ter­ri­tory as part of Is­rael.

“There will be no peace, no se­cu­rity, no sta­bil­ity and no co­ex­is­tence in our re­gion while this oc­cu­pa­tion con­tin­ues and a just, com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion to the ques­tion of Palestine, the core of the con­flict, re­mains de­nied,” Mr Ab­bas told the 193-mem­ber UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in a video pre-recorded due to Covid-19.

He said the Pales­tini­ans re­mained com­mit­ted to the 2002 Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive, drawn up by Saudi Ara­bia, in which Arab na­tions of­fered to nor­malise ties with Is­rael in re­turn for a state­hood deal with the Pales­tini­ans and full Is­raeli with­drawal from ter­ri­tory cap­tured in 1967. The United Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain signed agree­ments last week to es­tab­lish ties with Is­rael, be­com­ing the first Arab states in a quar­ter cen­tury to break a long­stand­ing taboo. The Pales­tini­ans de­nounced the move.

Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man bin

Ab­du­laziz, in his de­but speech to the United Na­tions on Wed­nes­day, said the Arab Peace Ini­tia­tive is the ba­sis for a “com­pre­hen­sive and just so­lu­tion,” but also said he sup­ported US peace ef­forts. He stopped short of en­dors­ing the re­cent US-bro­kered agree­ments. Saudi Ara­bia has qui­etly ac­qui­esced to the deals but has sig­nalled it is not ready to take sim­i­lar ac­tion.

Mr Ab­bas also said the Pales­tini­ans were pre­par­ing “to hold par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, fol­lowed by pres­i­den­tial elec­tions” and that all fac­tions and par­ties would take part. How­ever he set no date, and there are nu­mer­ous ob­sta­cles. Ab­bas’s Fatah fac­tion is dom­i­nant in the West Bank, but its Is­lamist ri­val Ha­mas con­trols Gaza, and East Jerusalem was cap­tured by Is­rael in the 1967 Mid­dle East war and later an­nexed, in a move that has not won in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion. Is­rael re­gards all of Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal.

 ??  ?? IN SEARCH OF PEACE: Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas of the Pales­tinian Author­ity ad­dresses the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly re­motely via video on Fri­day.
IN SEARCH OF PEACE: Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas of the Pales­tinian Author­ity ad­dresses the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly re­motely via video on Fri­day.

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