Roundup: Arab FMs reject U.S. Mideast peace plan, voice support for Palestine

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-02 05:07:39|Editor: yan
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An emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers is held at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 1, 2020. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said here on Saturday that his authority informed the Israeli and U.S. sides that it will "cut all relations" with them over the recently released U.S. peace plan. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

CAIRO, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Arab foreign ministers voiced rejection on Saturday to the recently released U.S. Middle East peace plan, while expressing their support for Palestine which emphatically refused the new peace plan upon its announcement.

"Rejection of the U.S.-Israeli Deal of the Century comes as it does not fulfill the minimum rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people," said the final communique issued by the foreign ministers following the meeting.

The statement described as "unfair" the peace deal, announced on Jan. 28 by U.S. President Donald Trump in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S. vision of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process includes annexing the disputed holy city of Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital" while the Palestinian capital will include areas on the outskirts of East Jerusalem.

The U.S. president outlined the 80-page plan, saying it proposes a "realistic" two-state solution.

The Trump administration has postponed several times the publication of its "Deal of the Century," a proposal that has been criticized repeatedly by the Palestinians who had little engagement in it.

The final statement of Arab foreign ministers agreed to boycott the U.S. "unfair deal" and not to cooperate "in any way" with the United States in its implementation.

The U.S. plan "violates the references of the peace process based on the international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions," the Arab ministers added.

They also highlighted the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League in Beirut in 2002 as the minimum acceptable limit to achieve peace "through ending the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of the independent, sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital."

The final statement agreed on "sticking to peace as a strategic option to settle the conflict," underlining the necessity of the two-state solution as the basis of the peace process.

They warned Israel against implementing the Trump-proposed deal unilaterally, reaffirming full support for the struggle of the Palestinian people and its leadership.

Speaking at the meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority informed the Israelis that it will "not have any relations with them or with the United States, including security relations."

Abbas said his authority sent two letters to both Netanyahu and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to convey the Palestinian rejection of the deal.

"The U.S. deal is completely rejected once they announced annexing Jerusalem to Israel," Abbas told the Arab foreign ministers at the meeting attended by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.

The United States is a biased mediator, said Abbas, noting he will head to the UN Security Council to protest the deal and find a solution.

He condemned that Washington wants to abolish former UN resolutions and international legitimacy decisions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and use the new U.S. plan as the only reference.

The Palestinian president said he declined the U.S. requests to receive a copy of the deal, nor letters and phone calls from Trump after the deal was announced.

"We have the right to continue our legitimate struggle through peaceful means to end the (Israeli) occupation and establish our independent state," said Abbas, calling for international and regional support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

Abbas urged the formation of an international mechanism to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the AL in Beirut in 2002.

"We will not accept the United States as the sole mediator of the peace process," Abbas added.

Washington's role as an Israeli-Palestinian conflict mediator has been questioned with the Trump administration's pro-Israeli policies in the past three years such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moving the U.S. embassy to the city, and slashing hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the light of the UN-proposed two-state solution based on the 1967 pre-war borders.

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