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Abbas to UN Envoy: I Want to Get Rid Of Occupation

Abbas to UN Envoy: I Want to Get Rid Of Occupation

Monday, 13 June, 2022 - 06:30
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf in Ramallah late on Saturday (WAFA)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf that he is about to downgrade the level of ties with Israel, warning that the unsustainable situation cannot be tolerated anymore.

In return, the US envoy asked the Palestinian President to await a possible visit of President Joe Biden to the region next month before taking any actions.

Leaf arrived in Ramallah late on Saturday accompanied by her deputy assistant Hady Amr.

Her trip aims to diffuse Abbas’ anger and to try to prevent the Palestinian President from taking any quick decisions that might impact the US efforts in the region.

“Our goal is to get rid of the occupation on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy. East Jerusalem is and will remain forever the capital of the State of Palestine,” Abbas told the US delegation.

He added that the current situation cannot be tolerated in the absence of a political horizon and international protection for the Palestinian people.

When meeting with Leaf, Abbas also reiterated the positions he expressed two weeks ago during a phone call held with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken when the PA president said he is on the verge of taking measures to confront the Israeli escalation.

Abbas said his warning came amid the international community’s inability to make Israel comply with the resolutions of international legitimacy, and stop its criminal and occupying practices of ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination.

The Palestinian President also asked his host about the fate of US promises to remove the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the US list of terrorism and to reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and the PLO office in Washington.

Leaf responded that her country is still working to maintain prospects for a two-state solution and that her delegation aims to prepare for the visit of Biden to Ramallah and his meeting with Abbas.

The US envoy’s office said Saturday that her visit aims to discuss the US-Palestinian relationship, US assistance to Palestinians, deepening ties, and how Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity.

On Thursday, the United States said it’s restoring a line of communication for the Palestinians that had been canceled by the Trump administration.

The move means the Palestinians will deal directly with the US State Department in Washington rather than first go through the American ambassador to Israel.

However, it falls short of Biden administration pledges — and Palestinian demands — for the US to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which for decades had functioned as a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinians.

In return, Abbas had warned to implement the decisions taken by the Central Council in February, which included suspending recognition of Israel.

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