Abbas: U.S. no longer ‘honest mediator’ in Mideast peace

Palestinian Authority Presidenty Mahmoud Abbas (L) leaves the Presidential Palace in Paris after conferring with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday. Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA-EFE

Dec. 23 (UPI) — The United States is no longer a factor in the Middle East peace process, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday.

Abbas made the remarks in Paris after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, as a response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv.

“The United States are no longer an honest mediator in the peace process, we will not accept any plan put forward by the United States,” he said.

U.S. plans for mediation have been prepared for several months and are expected to be revealed in early 2018, BBC News reported. The negotiations have been set to be led by White House adviser Jared Kushner. The last round of U.S.-led talks failed in 2014.

Abbas was also critical of a threat by President Donald Trump to cut funding to United Nations countries that voted Thursday to condemn the U.S. action. The U.N. General Assembly voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, to formally oppose the move. France, Germany and Britain were among those opposing the move.

Macron said France remained committed to a two-state solution, and will recognize a Palestinian state without pressure “at the right time.”

After the U.N. vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said several countries are now also considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

“We’re now talking to several countries who are seriously considering saying exactly the same thing as the United States and moving their embassies to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu told CNN. He did not reveal which countries are considering the move.

Trump’s announcement this month set off demonstrations and unrest throughout the Middle East. Two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops east of the Gaza Strip on Thursday.


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