Abbas to seek statehood recognition from France during Paris visit

Now, more than ever, world must back Palestinian initiative, says Riyad al-Malki.

September 15, 2014 09:32
2 minute read.

Kuwait's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki sign a memorandum of understanding as PA President Abbas stands behind them in Ramallah September 14. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask French President Francois Hollande to recognize 'Palestine' as a state, as part of a broader effort to drum up international support for a new political initiative to end the decades-old Israeli-Arab conflict.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the Ma'an news agency that the "current political climate" was better than ever before to push forward with the demands of the Palestinian people, adding that "now, more than ever," the world was convinced that Israel was undermining the peace process with its expanded settlement activity.

As European countries were becoming more aware of the need to push the Palestinian cause to the forefront of the international debate, he said the PA was going to demand the UN take a "clear stance" to put an end to the "occupation."

As for the US administration's response to Abbas's new political initiative – which was unveiled by Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Washington earlier this month – the foreign minister cautioned that "if the US refuses to adopt our plan for peace, the Palestinian leadership" will push forward a draft resolution at the UN Security Council.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to respond to the plan, said Malki, who hopes to get an answer from the administration by Sept. 24, when the UN General Assembly kicks off in New York. 

Abbas is expected to address the annual assembly, as is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will give his speech toward the end of the month.

Taking on the long-stalled peace talks with the Jewish state, Malki said returning to the negotiating table would only be possible if Israel freezes its settlement building, releases the fourth, final batch of prisoners held in Israeli prisons and outlines the borders of the future Palestinian state.

Referring to his Kuwaiti counterpart's historic visit to Ramallah on Sunday, he said the two sides discussed, among other things, the "financial needs of Palestine," which have deepened following the last cycle of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Over the weekends, the PA expressed concern that the international coalition against Islamic State would divert attention from the Palestinian issue. Abbas chaired a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to discuss the US efforts to form a coalition to fight Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

They also warned that the campaign did not deal with the “core and central issue, which is the Palestinian cause, so that it would be able to dry up the sources that feed terrorism and extremism.”

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