Russia doubts viability of Trump peace plan, EU stresses commitment to 2 states
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Russia doubts viability of Trump peace plan, EU stresses commitment to 2 states

Kremlin spokesman says US proposal ‘not in compliance’ with UN Security Council resolutions; Europe’s foreign policy chief warns that it ‘challenges’ agreed-upon parameters

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Sochi, Russia, December 4, 2019. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Sochi, Russia, December 4, 2019. (Shamil Zhumatov/Pool Photo via AP)

A Kremlin spokesperson voiced criticism Sunday of the Trump administration’s proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, saying it was not in compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“There is a whole number of respective resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Dmitry Peskov told Russian media. “It’s obvious that certain points of this plan are not in full compliance with the UNSC resolutions.

“We see the Palestinians’ reaction, we see the reaction of the whole number of Arab states, which show solidarity with the Palestinians in opposing this plan,” Peskov said. “This certainly raises doubts over its viability.”

On Saturday the 22-member Arab League of Nations unanimously rejected US President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East plan, calling it “unfair” to Palestinians. Arab leaders also vowed “not to… cooperate with the US administration to implement this plan.”

New European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who was visiting Jordan, remarked that the US plan “challenges many of the internationally agreed parameters.”

“The experience over the past 50 years has shown that without agreement among all sides, no peace plan has the chance to succeed,” Borrell said after meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

“The US plan challenges many of the internationally agreed parameters: the 1967 border, as agreed by both parties, with a state of Israel and an independent, viable state of Palestine, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition,” Borrell said.

“We share the commitment to a two-state solution and respect for international law,” he stressed, urging both sides in the conflict to return to the negotiating table.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, January 31, 2020. (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow last week to discuss the plan with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu stopped in Russia on his way back from Washington, where he had stood next to US President Donald Trump as the peace plan was rolled out.

“I’d like to speak to you and hear your insights and see how we can combine all our forces for security and peace,” Netanyahu told Putin at the start of their Kremlin meeting.

The Russian leader did not mention the peace plan in his public remarks, and the Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman later said the ministry had only “begun to study” the 181-page document.

The peace proposal Trump unveiled at the White House recognizes Israel’s rights to the Jordan Valley, all West Bank settlements and their surroundings — some 30 percent of the West Bank in total.

It would grant the Palestinians a state with restricted sovereignty in Gaza and in parts of the West Bank, while allowing Israel to annex all the settlements and the Jordan Valley and keep nearly all of East Jerusalem.

An Arab League emergency meeting to discuss US President Donald Trump’s peace proposal, at the league headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 1, 2020. (Khaled Desouki/AFP)

The Palestinians would control scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels. Israel would control the state’s borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority. Critics of the plan say this would rob Palestinian statehood of any meaning.

The Palestinians have long asserted that the pre-1967 borders should be the basis from which to begin negotiations for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. The US plan is in agreement with the latter principle, but places the capital in the rundown village of Abu Dis on the other side of the West Bank security barrier, some distance from the Old City and other integral Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

The plan had already been emphatically rebuffed by the Palestinians but welcomed by Israeli leaders, who have been particularly eager to move immediately on the annexations aspects.

Shortly after Trump presented the peace proposal, Netanyahu told reporters that Israel would push ahead with extending sovereignty to West Bank areas as described in the plan. Since then Israeli officials have backed down from taking any immediate unilateral steps, after Washington indicated that it wants Jerusalem to wait at least until after the coming March 2 elections before implementing any measures.

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