Palestinian president presents timeline for 2-state solution before walking out on talks
Mahmoud Abbas says peace efforts cannot be U.S.-brokered, amid efforts by Trump's Mideast negotiators
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is calling for an international peace conference by mid-2018 with key goals of full United Nations membership for the state of Palestine and a timeframe for resolving all issues with Israel for a two-state solution.
He called U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "dangerous" and one reason for the deadlock in peace efforts.
He outlined the Palestinian peace vision, starting with the peace conference in Moscow. Top Trump Mideast negotiators, who are preparing their own peace plan, sat in the council chamber listening.
'We will not chase after you'
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Tuesday during the meeting that U.S. negotiators were "ready to talk, but we will not chase after you."
Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt sat behind Haley at the meeting. Kushner and Greenblatt are currently working on a new Middle East peace plan.
Nor was he present for Israel's speech, which prompted harsh rebuke from Israel's ambassador, Danny Dannon.
"I expected Mr. Abbas to stay with us and have a dialogue. Unfortunately, he's once again running away," said Dannon. "The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians."
"When we extend a hand, Abbas extends a fist," he said.
Reviving Gaza's economy key, warns envoy
Meanwhile, the UN Mideast envoy warned that if the window of opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians isn't seized quickly, the conflict "will be engulfed in the whirlwind of religious radicalization that remains present in the region."
Nickolay Mladenov told the security council that "the enemies of peace are growing more confident by the day" and believe "the political odds are tilting in their favour."
Mladenov said that "as the peace process falters and the gulf between the two sides widens, Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer the violent consequences on the ground."
He also warned that without immediate steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Hamas-ruled Gaza and revive its economy, "we will face a total institutional and economic collapse in Gaza." He stressed: "This is not an alarmist prediction — it is a fact."
Mladenov urged the international community "not to give up on support for the moderate Palestinian leadership" and said Palestinian unity is crucial for a Palestinian state.
With files from Reuters