Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international conference to advance peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.
Abbas made the statement in a speech delivered on Tuesday to a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.“We call for the convening of an international peace conference in mid-2018, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, with broad international participation including the two concerned parties and the regional and international stakeholders,” Abbas said in a 30-minute speech.Since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city, Abbas has said the Palestinians will no longer work with an American-dominated peace process and has called for the creation of an alternative peace process to replace it.In his speech, Abbas said the international conference he envisions should back a new multilateral formula that gives multiple states a role in mediating negotiations of all final-status issues.Israel has said it will only work with an American-led peace process.Abbas also said the Palestinians will step up efforts to gain full membership at the UN.“We will come to this council. We were rejected last time. [But] we will come again and call for [full membership],” Abbas said, later adding, “We are deserving. Oh God, we are deserving of being a full member of the Security Council.” In 2011, Palestinian efforts to achieve full membership at the UN were unsuccessful.Both Israel and the US have historically held that the Palestinians should not make efforts to gain full membership at the UN before a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been achieved.The Palestinians currently have non-member observer state status at the UN.Abbas also stated that the Palestinians still want countries that have not recognized the “State of Palestine” to do so.“We have gained recognition from 138 states... but we still are seeking recognition from the rest of the international community, including the member states of the Security Council,” Abbas said.Last month, Abbas called on member states of the European Union to recognize “the State of Palestine” when he visited EU headquarters in Brussels.While a handful of EU countries have recognized “the State of Palestine,” the most powerful EU states, including France and Germany, have not made such a move. Following his speech, Abbas left the Security Council hall, not sticking around to hear Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon’s remarks to the UN body.
Mahmoud Abbas speaks to the UN Security Council on February 20, 2018. (Youtube/The United Nations)