Abbas urges African leaders to get involved in peace process

PA chairman speaks at African Union summit, reiterates that U.S. can no longer broker peace talks and calls for international involvement.

Elad Benari,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday told leaders at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa that resuming peace efforts with Israel requires a multi-lateral mechanism under the umbrella of the United Nations.

Quoted by the PA's official Wafa news agency, Abbas reiterated his position that the United States is no longer fit to mediate peace talks following President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

“We call on the African Union and its member states to have representatives in this mechanism or send [representatives] to the international conference, to be organized in accordance with the resolutions of international community,” Abbas was quoted as having told the conference.

“This should be based on the principle of the two-state solution on the 1967 borders and the end of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem,” he added.

Abbas stressed the importance for all states to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and urged the African leaders not to recognize any measures contrary to UN Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem.

“Our commitment to the option of peace is an option we have been seeking for decades. But U.S. President Donald Trump's decision on Jerusalem has made the United States a side biased with Israel, thus excluding itself as an intermediary in the peace process. As such, it will not be able to propose a just and equitable peace solution in the Middle East,” he charged.

Abbas praised African efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, saying, according to Wafa, “We are working with dozens of countries in the world to combat terrorism.”

“The struggle against colonialism, racism, injustice and the right of peoples to self-determination are common issues between Palestine and the peoples of the African continent,” he added.

Ever since Trump's announcement last month that the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Abbas has been looking elsewhere in the world for support for his unilateral efforts to achieve recognition of a Palestinian state.

Last week, the PA chairman asked EU foreign ministersto recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 territories with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

The EU pledged its support for Abbas’s vision of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Previously, Abbas urged Spain to recognize the “state of Palestine” in accordance with the recommendation of the local parliament.

And earlier this month, Rami Hamdallah, the head of the PA government in Ramallah, urged Norway to recognize “Palestine” during a meeting with its foreign minister.

Several European countries have in recent years recognized the state of “Palestine”, but these were symbolic moves that have little, if any, actual diplomatic effect.

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