Abbas with his Austrian counterpart after their meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said no one can represent the Palestinians in negotiating their country’s cause and peace-making.
He stressed that the only way to move forward in a political process is through holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East.
In a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen in Ramallah, Abbas said it is necessary to hold an international conference and establish a multilateral mechanism to move forward in the peace route.
He also affirmed that Palestinians will not agree to participate in an international conference that is not based on international legitimacy.
Abbas’s remarks refer to the upcoming US-Polish conference in Warsaw, which is scheduled to convene later this month to discuss issues related to Syria, Yemen, Iran, terrorism, cybersecurity and missiles’ development.
Palestinian officials have called on Arab countries to boycott the conference because they say it is being held under the pretext of promoting normalization with Israel.
Abbas said that Palestinians have not authorized anyone to negotiate on their behalf.
“We have the first and last word on the Palestinian cause,” he stressed. “No one can represent us or speak on our behalf.”
At the press conference, Abbas said he was working to form a new PA government and prepare for long-overdue parliamentary elections. However, he did not say when the elections would take place.
“We hope everyone cooperates with us to hold the elections in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem,” he said.
The US is no longer qualified alone to act as a mediator because of its bias in favor of Israel and because of its decisions regarding Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and settlements, PA President noted.
“The European Union can play an important role [in the peace process], alongside members of the United Nations Security Council,” he added.
The Austrian President, for his part, said his country and the EU continue to support the two-state solution.
“The EU has given much for building institutions in Palestine,” he noted. “We will continue to do so.”
Austria and the rest of the EU countries are unhappy with the US administration’s decision to cut American funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Van der Bellen noted.
(Source / 06.02.2019)