Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 September 2019

Mahmoud Abbas calls on all EU members to recognise Palestinian state

The Palestinian President made the request at a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a joint press conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in the West Bank town of Ramallah. EPA
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a joint press conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in the West Bank town of Ramallah. EPA

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on all of the European Union’s members to recognise a sovereign Palestinian state.

In a joint press conference alongside his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen in Ramallah, the Palestinian leader requested that all of the bloc’s 27 states take the step of announcing the need for an independent Palestinian entity not under Israeli occupation.

“We hope the states of the European Union… will recognize the State of Palestine,” he said.

Mr Abbas presides over the Palestinian Authority, which has semi-rule in the West Bank but remains under the purview of the Israeli military after it occupied the territory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Several EU states have recognised the State of Palestine, including Hungary, Cyprus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. But the bloc’s major powers are yet to join those members in recognising Palestinian sovereignty.

The Palestinian leader now wants France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy to join that recognition and add weight to the Palestinian claim to statehood.

“The European Union can play an important role [in the peace process], alongside members of the United Nations Security Council,” Mr Abbas said.

He outlined that the Palestinian would not partake in any international conference “not based on international legitimacy” nor let another state negotiate on its behalf.

“We have the first and last word on the Palestinian cause,” he said. “No one can represent us or speak on our behalf.”

Mr Van der Bellen said that he supports a two-state solution, with an Israeli state living side-by-side with a Palestinian one.

Israel maintains that any negotiations with the Palestinians should take place directly and not involving outside parties.

The last bilateral talks took place in 2014 but broke down after Israel’s failure to release a final batch of prisoners it had promised to let free in return for Palestinian concessions.

Updated: February 6, 2019 12:32 PM

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