Palestinian leader 'ready' for Quartet-based talks

Abbas will tell UN to either save two-state solution or bury it — report

PA chief will make final effort for peace progress before turning to ‘difficult decisions,’ Arab paper reports, including suspending recognition of Israel, annulling accords

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2017. (AP/Seth Wenig)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2017. (AP/Seth Wenig)

In his speech to the UN General Assembly next week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will urge the international community to either save the two-state solution or take responsibility for its demise and “burial,” unnamed Palestinian sources told London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat Friday.

The sources said Abbas’s appeal for an international peace conference will be his final effort to save the peace process before he is forced to make “difficult decisions.” These could include suspending the PA’s recognition of Israel, annulment of accords — including Oslo — and declaring the Palestinian territories to be a state under occupation.

After talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday, Abbas denied US claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.

Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks” on the condition that the Middle East Quartet and “other states” mediate them. The Quartet is comprised of the US, Russia, EU and the United Nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron (2ndR) welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace, on September 21, 2018 in Paris. ( AFP PHOTO / LUDOVIC MARIN)

Since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in the Jewish state to the city, Abbas has said on multiple occasions the Palestinians will no longer cooperate with a US-dominated peace process. Israel has said that it will only work with a US-led peace process.

Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American [funding] gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.

He also said that France was increasingly studying the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state. “The French certainly care a lot about that issue,” Abbas told reporters, referring to the possibility. “They are studying it more and more.”

More than 130 countries have recognized a Palestinian state, but some of the international community’s most influential members, including France, the US and the UK, have not made such a move.

AP and Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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