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Palestine’s Abbas asks UN for international Mideast conference next year as Arab support dwindles

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appealed on Friday to the United Nations to arrange an international conference on the peace process, in the wake of Gulf Arab recognition of Israel.

In an address to the UN General Assembly, Abbas asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene the meeting “early next year” and bring in “all relevant parties”.

“The conference should have full authority to launch a genuine peace process based on international law,” Abbas told the virtual General Assembly in a recorded address.

“It should aim to end the occupation and grant the Palestinian people their freedom and independence in their own state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and settle final-status issues, notably the refugee question,” he said.

Abbas made his appeal amid concerns among Palestinians of dwindling support in the Arab world for their decades-long campaign for an independent state.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain earlier this month agreed to recognise Israel, a major coup for the Jewish state and diplomatic win for United States President Donald Trump.

The two Arab states, while saying they still support a Palestinian state, share concerns of Israel and the US about neighbouring Iran.

“It is delusional to think that the Palestinian people could be sidelined,” Abbas said, and added: “You should all know that there can be no peace, no security, no stability or coexistence in our region without an end to the occupation and without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question.”

The Palestinian Authority has refused diplomatic efforts by the Trump administration, saying it is biased toward Israel.


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