Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Mahmoud Abbas accuses US of bias against Palestinian statehood

Palestinian President in Baghdad to reiterate his rejection of US peace plan

Iraqi President Barham Salih, right, meets with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 4, 2019. AP
Iraqi President Barham Salih, right, meets with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 4, 2019. AP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that the US move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has pushed officials in Ramallah to reject its proposed peace plan.

Washington has pledged to solve the decades-long conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis but the plan is yet to be released.

The Palestinian leader reiterated his position that Washington is no longer capable of leading neutral peace negotiations, adding that the US encourages Israel to act above the law.

"By recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel the US government has proved that it is not neutral, which led us to reject its peace plan," Mr Abbas said during a two day visit to Baghdad.

Jerusalem is one of the major issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides claim it as a capital. The Palestinians seek its eastern sector as the capital while Israel claims the whole city as its own.

Doubts have mounted over whether Mr Trump can secure the deal especially after recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and then moving the US embassy there.

Mr Trump’s move outraged the Palestinians, who have since boycotted Washington’s peace efforts, led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The US also cut off aid to the Palestinians and to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and has ordered the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Washington shut, further angering Palestinian and Arab leaders.

“I briefed the Iraqi Prime Minister on the latest political developments in Palestine, particularly the Israeli violations against Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Mr Abbas said.

On his part, Mr Abdul Mahdi reiterated Iraq’s support towards the Palestinian statehood.

“We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Palestine regains its statehood,” the Iraqi premier said.

Mr Abdul Mahdi stressed that Palestine remains a central issue to Iraq and that Baghdad’s presence in the region will adhere to Palestine.

“Our greatest victory will be when Palestine is liberated and Jerusalem will be its capital. We want the Palestinian people to achieve their ambitions in an independent Palestinian state,” he said.

Mr Abbas also met with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih on Monday in Baghdad. The Palestinian President is slated to visit Jordan later on Monday and then return to the West Bank.

Updated: March 4, 2019 05:36 PM

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