Abbas R 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Even if Israel accepts the Palestinian Authority’s conditions for resuming peace
talks, the PA won’t withdraw its application to the UN for full membership of a
Palestinian state on all the territories captured in 1967, President Mahmoud
Abbas was quoted on Tuesday as saying.
Abbas has meanwhile rejected
Colombia’s offer to mediate between the PA and Israel to pave the way for the
resumption of the peace process.
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Colombia is opposed to the statehood bid
and supports the resumption of direct peace talks between the Palestinians and
Israel, a PA official in Ramallah pointed out.
Abbas thanked Colombia for
its offer, but demanded “sufficient guarantees” before the negotiations are
resumed, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said.
Colombian Foreign Minister
Maria Holguin had proposed mediating between the two sides during a meeting with
Abbas in Bogota on Monday.
But Malki said that the Palestinians “don’t
want to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. We have been negotiating for
20 years in an empty peace process that has gotten us nowhere.”
arrived in Colombia earlier this week to seek the country’s support of the
Palestinians’ request for full membership in the UN.
On Tuesday, he met
with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to urge him to vote in favor of the
statehood bid. Colombia is a non-permanent member of the UN Security
In the context of his efforts to seek support for the statehood
bid, Abbas is also scheduled to visit France, which is also a member of the
Addressing representatives of the 40,000-strong
Palestinian community in Colombia, Abbas called on Israel to recognize a
Palestinian state, saying this was in the interest of Israel “so that we could
live alongside each other in security and stability.”
Abbas said that the
Palestinian right to statehood is 60 years old, “but the circumstances were then
very difficult for us.” The Palestinians are now seeking to achieve this right
through the UN, Abbas added.
He noted that 130 countries have so far
recognized the Palestinian state, and more countries are expected to follow
“We are determined to end our difference with Israel and achieve
peace through negotiations,” Abbas declared.
“But Israel must recognize
us as a people who have the right to a state and it also must stop all its
settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”