The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Palestinians welcome Paris summit statement amid UK 'reservations' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Palestinians welcome Paris summit statement amid UK 'reservations'

France organised the gathering to reaffirm global support for a Palestinian state [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 16 January, 2017

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
The PLO has welcomed the closing statement of a Middle East peace summit held in Paris on Sunday to reaffirm global support for a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state.

Palestinian officials welcomed the closing statement of Sunday's Middle East peace conference "which stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation," Palestinian Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat said.

The conference's closing statement called on both sides to avoid "unilateral steps" and stressed that the basis for negotiations should be the 1967 borders, before Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The PLO called on conference host France and all the countries that attended the meeting in Paris to "recognise Palestine in line with their recognition of Israel".

According to Erekat, a former Palestinian peace negotiator, participants "created a momentum" in rejecting "Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise".

The meeting constituted a message to Israel "to abide by international law" and "end its military occupation of Palestine" in order to pave the way for peace and stability in the region, Erekat said.

"It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a country above the law and to hold it accountable for its systematic violations of international law and the rights of our people."

France organised the gathering to reaffirm global support for a Palestinian state existing alongside an Israeli state - a scenario the Palestinians fear could be jeopardised by Donald Trump's incoming US administration.

Neither side attended the conference, which the Palestinians supported, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier dismissed it as "futile".

Both Netanyahu and Abbas have been invited to meet with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the conference's outcome.

Abbas is expected to travel to Paris in the coming weeks but Netanyahu has rejected the offer, French diplomats said.

Warning both sides

Around 70 countries attending the talks in Paris called on the two sides to avoid moves that "prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including inter alia, Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees".

The participants in the conference "will not recognise" such steps, they warned in a statement.

They also agreed that the basis for the negotiations should be the 1967 borders, which French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault set out as the cornerstone of final-status negotiations.

"The basis is the 1967 borders and the major UN resolutions," he said.

It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a country above the law and to hold it accountable for its systematic violations of international law and the rights of our people.
- Saeb Erekat

The conference comes as Trump's campaign pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparks deep concerns for peace in the Middle East.

Ayrault said such a move, which would support Israel's claim that Jerusalem is its capital, would be a "provocation".

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has warned it would "destroy" peace efforts.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in the conflict.

"When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace," Ayrault told French television.

British snub

Britain, which only attended the Paris talks as an observer, had cited "particular reservations" over Sunday's conference and refused to sign the joint statement that called for a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict.

The British refusal to send a high-level delegation to Paris was widely viewed as a sign of London's determination to stay close to Donald Trump's incoming administration.

Most major EU countries sent their foreign minister to the conference, but Britain's Boris Johnson did not attend.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said Britain "will... look forward to working with the parties, the new US administration and other countries represented in this conference to make progress in 2017 and beyond".

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More