US President Joe Biden reportedly rejected a request from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Citing US and Palestinian sources, Axios reported on Wednesday that Abbas and his aides inquired about the prospect of a meeting with Biden when considering whether to attend the annual gathering.
The Palestinians were told by the White House that Biden wouldn’t hold any bilateral meetings while in New York and was also unavailable to meet in Washington, according to the report, which also noted that Biden held several bilateral meetings during his brief stay in New York.
The report also said that this message contributed to Abbas’s decision not to address the General Assembly in person and instead speak remotely by video.
The White House did not comment on the report.
Biden has not made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top foreign policy priority since taking office.
In his speech at the UN last Tuesday, Biden did stress that he supports a two-state solution, but acknowledged that “we are a long way from that goal at this moment.”
Axios also reported that the Biden administration has instead been encouraging efforts to “advance peace” and Hady Amr, deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, is due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah next week.
During his UN speech, Abbas gave the occupation state one year to end its occupation of 1967-occupied territories, otherwise, the PA will consider withdrawing its recognition of ‘Israel’.
“We give Israel one year to end its occupation. During this time we are ready to demarcate the border. If Israel doesn’t agree we will consider withdrawing our recognition of Israel on the 1967 lines and going to ICC”, Abbas said.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, made no mention of the Palestinians in his speech at the UN.
(Source / 06.10.2021)