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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Palestinian foreign minister chastises world leaders for lack of progress

Riyad Al Maliki said a two-state solution was needed to avoid an apartheid state

Riyad Al Maliki spoke on the topic at the MED Mediterranean Dialogues event in Rome. EPA
Riyad Al Maliki spoke on the topic at the MED Mediterranean Dialogues event in Rome. EPA

The world must help resolve the Israel-Palestinian issue by backing a two-state solution to avoid the creation of an apartheid state, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al Maliki said on Friday.

"The Palestinians are still waiting for the international community to try to resolve the Palestinian problem that has been created by the international community," with the foundation of Israel in 1948, Mr Al Maliki told the MED Dialogues conference in Rome.

"Unfortunately, none of you is taking serious, credible and responsible steps to solve the problem," Maliki told the assembled European and Middle Eastern leaders.

Maliki slammed the US administration of President Donald Trump "which has really sided with Israel, taken the wrong side of history, of justice."

The Palestinians have already vowed to block Trump's peace plan and severed ties with his administration after his December decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and declare the city Israel's capital.

The Palestinians also see the city as the capital of their future state and international consensus has been that Jerusalem's status must be negotiated between the two sides.

"If the Americans are not willing to do anything, Europe should do that," Mr Al Maliki said.

"We should force the change to happen, that's why we are pushing for a European role," including backing an international peace conference.

"It's not our responsibility to protect the two-state solution, it's your responsibility," he said, without which Israel would continue to develop separate systems for Israelis and Palestinians, as it already does with road networks and public transport.

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"I don't believe any of you will accept another apartheid regime to emerge in the 21st century," Mr Al Maliki said.

Israeli parliament speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, was also attending the MED gathering and said the two sides should focus on co-operation.

"If the idea of peace process is again some theory of two courageous leaders in a room shaking hands and signing an agreement, that doesn't work," said Mr Edelstein.

"The only way to get back to a situation where we can do something positive is co-operation in practical fields (like manufacturing or water management). We don't need a comprehensive agreement to cooperate," he said.