Abbas adviser suggests US pressured Palestinian leader to nix UN speech 'bombshell'

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September 29, 2015 02:14

Mahmoud Habbash said that Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry held “difficult” talks in New York during which they discussed the PA president’s UN speech.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attends the opening meeting of the Arab Summit in Shar

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attends the opening meeting of the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is planning no surprises in his speech before the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, a senior Palestinian official said on Monday.

Mahmoud Habbash, Abbas’s adviser on religious affairs, hinted that the PA president has come under pressure from the US to refrain from making dramatic announcements during his speech.

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Habbash said that Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry held “difficult” talks in New York last weekend during which they discussed the PA president’s threat to drop a bombshell at the end of his speech.

Abbas did not elaborate on his recent statement, in which he said that he plans to drop a bombshell before the General Assembly.

Some of his aides later said Abbas was planning to announce a Palestinian state “under Israeli occupation” – a unilateral move that is in violation of the Oslo Accords.

Habbash said that Abbas has informed all relevant parties that the Palestinians would not commit to any agreements as long as Israel fails to fulfill its obligations toward the peace process.

Abbas told Palestine TV on Sunday that he raised three issues during his talks with world leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly session in New York: ongoing tensions on the Temple Mount, Israel’s “failure” to implement agreements with the Palestinians and the revival of the peace negotiations with Israel.

Abbas said the world must pay attention to what is happening at the Temple Mount, warning that the situation could lead to “catastrophes.” He accused Israel of working toward turning the political conflict into a religious one.

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said that Abbas would focus in his speech on the possibility that the Palestinians would revise their agreements with Israel. He too accused Israel of avoiding its obligations toward the peace process and failing to implement agreements with the Palestinians.

Majdalani claimed that the US administration has been trying to persuade some Arab countries to put pressure on Abbas to refrain from making any unilateral announcements in his speech.

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