Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasSTR/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday urged the African Union member states and its officials to support the French initiative to organize an international peace conference aimed at reaching a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Ma'an news agency reports.

In a speech at the African Union’s 27th summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, Abbas said that the African Union had an important role to play in promoting peace in the region due to its influence both at the regional and international level.

“Our hands are extended for peace with our neighbors, to be achieved through legal and peaceful means based on international resolutions," he said, according to Ma'an.

Abbas also said that peace can only be reached if the Israeli “occupation” comes to an end and an independent Palestinian state be established with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

On June 3, France hosted a summit of foreign ministers in Paris who discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace."

Israel has rejected the initiative and insists that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA.

The PA, while accepting the initiative, has also reportedly been seeking an alternative in case the United States may seek to modify it.

In that regard, a recent report said the PA may seek again to promote a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements”.
In his remarks Sunday, Abbas also reiterated his view the the Middle East Quartet “failed once again” to undertake its duties in accordance with the road map for peace plan of 2003.

Referring to the recently released report by the Quartet, Abbas said it “undermines resolutions made by legitimate international bodies.”

The Quartet’s report, he claimed, did not reflect the reality of Palestinian life under “occupation” and only functioned to encourage Israel to continue its “oppression and violations of international law.”