Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas asks UN for international peace conference next year

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (Photo: UN/IANS)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA)  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an international conference early next year to “launch a genuine peace process” while criticizing the recent decision of two Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel.

In an address before the UN General Assembly on Friday, Abbas seemed to acknowledge the growing international weariness with the decades-old conflict, saying “I wonder what more I can say after all I’ve said on countless occasions.”

The Palestinians have rejected President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the conflict that overwhelmingly favors Israel, and have officially cut off contacts with both the US and Israel. Instead, they have called for a multilateral peace process based on UN resolutions and past agreements.

They have also rejected the decision of the UAE and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, viewing it as a betrayal of the longstanding Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only come in exchange for territorial concessions.

In his speech, Abbas said the agreements, signed at the White House earlier this month, are a “violation” of the “principles of a just and lasting solution under international law.”

Abbas spoke before a large plaque reading “State of Palestine.” The Palestinians upgraded their status to “observer state” at the UN in 2012.

Abbas closed by saying “there can be no peace, no security, no stability, no coexistence in our region without an end to the occupation.”

“We will not bow down. We will not surrender. We will not compromise. And we shall triumph,” he said.

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