Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Abbas calls for international peace conference at UNSC

United Nations
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an international peace conference to convene by mid-2018 in order to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday for the first time since 2009, the 82-year-old delivered a speech that included past rhetoric of rejecting violence and accepting negotiations with Israel are the only way forward.

"We believe negotiations are the only path towards peace so how can we reject negotiations?" he said.

Abbas spoke during a political climate that saw tensions reach a boiling point after the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. The move led the Palestinian leadership to reject the role of the US as an honest broker in negotiations with Israel.

Furthermore, US President Donald Trump's administration has cut down funding for UNRWA, the UN agency that helps many Palestinians, which has dealt the Palestinian Authority another blow.

Abbas also called for a "multilateral mechanism" at the meeting, and vowed Palestinians will step up efforts to achieve full membership at the UN. Currently, the state of Palestine is designated non-observer member status.

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