Abbas: Withdrawal of Arab Peace Initiative not on summit agenda
Published Saturday 29/03/2014 (updated) 29/03/2014 16:47
KUWAIT CITY (Ma'an) -- Despite remarks by officials that the 25th Arab League summit would consider withdrawing the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the issue was not on the summit's agenda.
"I haven't asked for a withdrawal of the Arab Peace Initiative because I am convinced that it has positive elements for the Arabs, the Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and the whole region," Abbas told journalists at the summit.
He said the only two alternatives to the initiative would be a continuation of the decades-long stalemate between Israel and Arab countries or for Arab countries to wage war against Israel.
He said the first alternative had already proved seriously damaging to the Palestinians, and that the second option was not viable.
Additionally, Abbas commented on the ongoing peace negotiations with Israel.
"We will not go ahead with peace negotiations unless our inalienable rights are guaranteed and we establish a state free of occupation on all lands occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital," he said.
The Palestinian Authority will continue to oppose recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state," he added.
An Arab official at the summit, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Ma'an Sunday that the Arab League was considering withdrawing the Arab Peace Initiative.
The initiative -- which calls for two states on the 1967 borders and a "just settlement" of the refugee issue in exchange for full normalization between Israel and the Arab world -- was largely rejected by Israeli officials after it was approved at the 2002 Beirut summit.
The 25th Arab League summit was held in Kuwait on Wednesday and Thursday.