Abbas in Greece 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to hold “urgent”
consultations in Cairo on Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in wake
of Washington’s decision to abandon efforts to persuade Israel to extend a
moratorium on settlement construction, a PA official said on
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Abbas has also requested an emergency meeting of Arab League
foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital next week to discuss the repercussions
of the US decision.
The PA official said the Palestinians expected the
Arab ministers to convene in Cairo as early as next week.
president will ask Abbas to delay his decision to seek international UN
recognition of a Palestinian state so as to give the US administration another
chance to persuade Israel to halt settlement construction, the official
PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said that in light of the American
announcement the PA leadership would discuss the possibility of asking the UN
Security Council to recognize an independent Palestinian state along the
He said that the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah
Central Committee would convene in Ramallah to discuss the PA response to the US
announcement as soon as Abbas returns from his current tour
Sha’ath added that the Palestinians hold Israel fully responsible
for the current deadlock in the peace talks He said that Israel’s refusal to
cease settlement construction would be added to US President Barack Obama’s
“record of failure” in making the peace process succeed.
PA ambassador to Cairo, said that Abbas would consult with Mubarak about the
Palestinians’ next step in response to the US announcement.
spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said that the PA won’t announce its response to
the US announcement before consulting with members of the Arab League.
said that Abbas has informed the Americans that the Palestinians won’t take any
step, including dispatching an envoy for talks with US officials in Washington,
without consulting with the Arab countries.
Abbas, who learned about the
US position during a visit to Greece, said that the peace process was facing a
He told reporters in Athens that the EU could now
play a larger role, together with the US, to achieve peace in the Middle
“There’s a crisis and it’s a difficult one,” Abbas said.
are moving in two parallel directions that don’t impact each other: the peace
process, which we are trying to save from the crisis its facing, and national
reconciliation [with Hamas].”
Abbas said that despite the crisis in the
peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians remained committed to a political
solution on the basis of the road map and the Arab peace initiative, which he
described as a “precious gift” to peace in the Middle East.
Rabbo, a top PLO official closely associated with Abbas, said that the US
decision harmed Washington’s credibility as an honest broker.
can’t convince Israel or force it to stop settlement construction for a
specified period of time, how will they make Israel accept a two-state solution
based on the 1967 borders?” Abed Rabbo asked in an interview with the PA’s Voice
of Palestine radio station.
“Instead of announcing that Israel is
responsible for the failure of the negotiations, the US administration is giving
the Israelis an opportunity to waste more time. The US policy has failed because
of the blow it has received from Israel.”