Palestinian leader voices hope at UN that Arab-led initiative will bring peace

26 September 2008

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the General Assembly’s annual high-level gathering today that an Arab-led peace proposal provides a “historic opportunity” to bring peace and security to the region.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the General Assembly’s annual high-level gathering today that an Arab-led peace proposal provides a “historic opportunity” to bring peace and security to the region.

The Arab Peace Initiative, a plan based on the principle of land for peace adopted in Beirut in 2002, calls for Israel to withdraw from all Arab lands occupied since 1967, recognize an independent Palestinian State and provide a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. In return Arab countries would recognize Israel, end their conflict and normalize relations.

Mr. Abbas reiterated his call “to all concerned parties, including Israel, and all concerned regional and international powers to seize the opportunity provided by the Arab Peace Initiative, an opportunity that should not be missed or treated lightly.”

In the context of that proposal, he expressed his support for the indirect talks between Israel and Syria under Turkey’s auspices. “We hope this process will succeed in the achievement of justice and the implementation of international resolutions and the affirmation of international legitimacy.”

Also paramount is the peace proposal launched in the United States city of Annapolis late last year, the President noted.

An agreement on all final status issues “would lead to the realization of peace within our region, allowing it to enter a new era of relations characterized by good neighbourliness, mutual recognition, security and open borders and not by walls and barriers,” he told delegates at United Nations Headquarters.

The conference held in Annapolis in November 2007 witnessed the largest number of countries come together to discuss the issue, resulting in the consensus that obstacles – namely Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially East Jerusalem – be removed, Mr. Abbas said.

Earlier this month, a senior UN official told the Security Council that the peace process is at a crossroads and needs to make decisive advances in the months ahead, as disturbing developments counter-balance recent positive steps.

“It appears so far that no agreement has been reached on the core issues,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) Robert Serry told the 15-member body. “However, it also appears that there have been substantive discussions, the potential of which must be built on with a continuation of intensive negotiations.”

 

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Time for decisive steps in Middle East peace process, UN official says

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is at a crossroads and needs to make decisive advances in the months ahead, as disturbing developments counter-balance recent positive steps, a senior United Nations official said today.