Abbas Says Arab Peace Initiative Is the Only Diplomatic Plan on the Table

Palestinian president says no new diplomatic plan at the Arab League summit opening Wednesday; Abbas to meet Trump in April.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stands on podium during a reception ceremony in Amman, Jordan March 28, 2017.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stands on podium during a reception ceremony in Amman, Jordan March 28, 2017. MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

The Palestinian leadership will not be presenting any new peace plan or diplomatic initiative at the Arab League summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published Wednesday. The only initiative on the agenda, the Palestinian president said, is the Arab Peace Initiative – unchanged, not even tweaked.

Speaking to with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad ahead of the Arab summit that began Wednesday morning in Jordan, Abbas said that by accelerating settlement construction and expropriating Palestinian lands, Israeli policy is creating a reality of a single state with two regimes, an apartheid regime in a sense.

Abbas said that during the summit, the Arab League will stress its commitment to the peace initiative adopted in 2002, unchanged. The preconditions for its implementation include ending the Israeli occupation and realizing the Palestinian dream of establishing an independent state within the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem; canceling the Israeli law annexing Jerusalem; and calling on the international community not to establish embassies or international representations in Jerusalem under the present conditions.

In the interview, Abbas said he will visit Washington in April, when he is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time since the latter took office, though he did not mention a specific date.

A Palestinian delegation will be sent to the American capital ahead of Abbas' visit for preparations. "We are ready and willing to cooperate with President Trump to achieve a just, sustainable peace based on the principles of the international community," Abbas said.

On Tuesday, Abbas met with Trump's envoy to the Israel-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, in Jordan at the Dead Sea, following up their meeting two weeks ago. Abbas' bureau said that the Palestinian president presented Greenblatt with questions and is now waiting for answers from Washington after Greenblatt received answers to questions he had posed to the Palestinian leadership.

During the summit, the Arab League will discuss the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Another topic on the agenda is the fight on terrorism, specifically the war against the Islamic State. Other issues up for discussion are the wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

Eighteen leaders are expected at the meeting, including the Egyptian president and king of Morocco, which is a great boost for the Jordanian king, Abdullah II. That said, meaningful decisions leading to material effect on the superpowers, in the context of the Palestinians and Syria, are not expected.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has not been invited for such gatherings since the 22-member Arab League suspended his country months after a civil strife erupted in his country in March 2011.

With reporting by DPA.