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Abbas, Haley Trade Barbs Over Trump's Israel Stand at UN

21 February 2018

President Mahmoud Abbas said in the course of earlier talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin the Palestinian National Authority had no plans to cooperate with the United States in the status of Middle East peace process intermediary.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday asked the UN Security Council for a "multilateral global mechanism" to solve the Israeli-Palestinian question, acknowledging that no country on its own can solve a regional problem, and thus rejecting the role of the United States as mediator.

Another senior Palestinian official, Mustafa Barghouti, said he expected Abbas to again attack the United States declaration and call for the recognition of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

Stressing the U.N.'s opposition to such a reality, he said: "It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one-state reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians".

However, she warned Abbas "we will not chase after you".

Abbas, who renewed his call for an worldwide conference this year to seek a Mideast accord, warned that the refugee aid cuts could leave desperate Palestinians turning to terrorism and flooding into Europe.

The plan also gears up for an global conference to pave the ground for negotiations while committing to the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, he said.

Haley also addressed the Palestinians' vehement opposition to the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital.

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According to earlier Palestinian reports, Israeli warplanes responded by striking various targets in and around Gaza City. Later, IDF and Gaza officials reported a series of Israeli airstrikes against terror training sites and tunnels.

In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem.

On Thursday, the UNSC president Kuwait, joined by Bolivia, France and Sweden, is expected to host an Arria-formula meeting on "Prospects for the two-state solution for peace".

But Mr Abbas can expect a swift and forceful response from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, a staunch proponent of the move who has already defended it before the world body. Following the veto, a almost identical text was adopted at the General Assembly with 128 votes in favour, nine votes against, 35 abstentions and 21 absences.

But he told the U.N. Security Council's monthly Mideast meeting that "after decades of support, the global consensus for a two-state solution could be eroding". "At the United Nations, I have opposed the bias against Israel, as any ally should do", Haley said.

That vote in the 193-nation assembly came after 14 of the 15 council members voted in favor of a similar measure.

He also called conditions in Hamas-rule Gaza "dire" and mentioned the shortage of funds for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, caused by the US suspension of $65 million in assistance.

Abbas outlined the Palestinian vision for peace and told the council: "We are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve the freedom and independence of our people".

Abbas, Haley Trade Barbs Over Trump's Israel Stand at UN