Abbas to urge alternative to US as peace mediator in UN speech
PA leader to call for multiple world powers to facilitate negotiations, officials say, as ‘new phase of struggle’ begins following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will call for an alternative to US-mediated negotiations with Israel during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council, Palestinian officials said Monday.
Addressing the council on Tuesday for the first time since 2009, the long-time Palestinian leader is expected to call for multiple international powers to facilitate peace negotiations and again criticize the United States’ controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Welcomed by Israel, President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement angered the Palestinians, who also consider the city the capital of their future state, and led them to say the US had disqualified itself from its traditional role as lead mediator in talks with Israel.
In a statement ahead of the visit, Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told state media that a “new phase of struggle has started,” as they seek to protect their claim to Jerusalem.
Senior Palestinian official Nasser al-Qudwa said on Monday that Abbas would be looking to gain support for a multilateral initiative, but added that the Palestinians would not dictate what shape it would take.
The 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement negotiated by the so-called P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — is seen by many Palestinians as a good example.
“We can live with different formats, the P5, P5+1, expanded Quartet, we can live with an international peace conference,” Qudwa told a news conference in Ramallah.
“Anything that can do the job, provide a reasonable basis for negotiation and follow up the process — sponsor it until it successfully concludes.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, is expected to respond to Abbas’s comments.
Israel, which often accuses both the European Union and the United Nations of bias against it, would not accept any mediator other than the US.
Palestine is currently a non-member observer state at the UN, and would need a favorable UN Security Council vote to be upgraded to full membership. The Trump administration would be expected to block any such upgrade.