Arab League urges Abbas to stay on

Arab League urges Abbas

November 9, 2009 15:50
1 minute read.

Arab League head Amr Moussa on Monday urged the Palestinian president to reconsider his decision not to run for a second term in the January 2010 elections. Amr Moussa's request came as Arab foreign ministers were meeting this week to review their commitment to a 2002 peace initiative offering Israel recognition of its statehood in exchange for withdrawal from Arab land. Arab countries are concerned that Mahmoud Abbas' resignation will create a Palestinian political vacuum and result in the collapse of the fragile Palestinian Authority. Abbas announced Thursday that he had "no desire" to serve a second term as president, highlighting the Palestinians' deep despair over failed peace initiatives and skepticism concerning US efforts to relaunch the stalled process. He should not step down, as "the Palestinian arena has already enough problems," Amr Moussa said in a statement. Arab foreign ministers will meet on Thursday to review Arab strategy on the Middle East talks. "They will discuss the frozen peace efforts in view of the Israeli practices and the retreat of the American role," Moussa said. Moussa did not elaborate but Arab diplomats said the ministers would discuss whether Arabs should keep pursuing a 2002 Arab peace plan which offered Israel recognition in exchange for all Arab land lost in 1967's Six-Day War. Obama has spearheaded renewed efforts to bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, but key sticking points remain. The Palestinians say talks should resume where they left off, and want a complete freeze of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Israel has agreed to slow settlement building and refrain from issuing new construction permits, but has rejected a total halt to ongoing construction. Arab officials has been questioning whether the US had tilted toward Israel and abandoned its position that continued Israel settlements are illegitimate and must be brought to a full stop.

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