With UN settlement resolution on hold, PA advances French initiative for solving conflict

By
April 23, 2016 22:51

PA officials explained the decision to postpone the Security Council bid was taken at the request of France, which wants to give all parties a chance in holding an international peace conference.

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Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization. (photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF)

After delaying its plan to obtain a UN Security Council against settlements, the Palestinian Authority said over the weekend that it is now working to promote a French initiative that calls for convening an international conference for solving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

The PA had originally planned to present a draft resolution to the Security Council condemning settlement construction during PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to New York last weekend.

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Abbas attended the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement on climate change at UN headquarters, but did not submit the draft resolution to the Security Council.

PA officials explained that the decision to postpone the Security Council bid was taken at the request of France, which wants all parties to give a chance to the idea of holding an international peace conference.

The officials stressed that the delay does not mean that the Palestinians have abandoned the Security Council bid.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said on Saturday that the Palestinians were continuing their consultations with various international parties to advance French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s plan to invite foreign ministers from Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia to Paris on May 30 to lay the groundwork for a new round of peace talks. He called on the international community to deal seriously with the initiative, which he said is aimed at achieving freedom, sovereignty and independence for a Palestinian state.

Erekat thanked the French government for the initiative, adding: “We realize the difficulties facing this step, but we will continue our efforts to end the occupation.”

On Friday, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki, who is accompanying Abbas on his visit to New York, told reporters that the Palestinians have decided to postpone the Security Council bid in order to allow France to make progress regarding the proposed international conference. Malki welcomed France’s decision to convene a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss ways of promoting the conference.

He pointed out that the Palestinians have been “positive” from the outset with toward the French initiative.

Malki said that the PA would hold further consultations with Arab countries and other international parties regarding the draft resolution condemning settlement construction.

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