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  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., Feb. 20, 2018.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at UN headquarters in New York, U.S., Feb. 20, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 February 2018

In a rare speech at the U.N. Security council, the Palestinian president reiterated that his government does not see the U.S. as a peace broker.

During a rare address to the United Nations Security Council Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international Middle East peace conference to be convened by the middle of this year.

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"We call for the convening of an international peace conference by mid 2018 based on international law and the relevant U.N. resolutions with broad international participation and including the two concerned parties and the regional and international stakeholders,” Abbas told members of the U.N. Security Council in his first speech to the body since 2009.

“Foremost among them, the permanent members of the Security Council and the international Quartet as was the framework for the Paris Peace Conference and as envisaged for the conference to be convened in Moscow as per resolution 1850, so we call for the convening of an international peace conference."

The Palestinians no longer view Washington as a neutral negotiator and have been calling for a collective approach to try and broker Middle East peace. They are furious at U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and cut to U.S. funding for the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees, UNRWA

"We met with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, four times in 2017, and we have expressed our absolute readiness to reach a historic peace agreement," Abbas said. "Yet this administration has not clarified its position. Is it for the two-state solution, or for one-state?"

Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital. The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future independent state of their own that would include the West Bank and Gaza.

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"Israel is acting as a state above the law," Abbas added. "It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per international law into a situation of permanent settlement colonization and imposed a one-state reality of apartheid."

Abbas, who has rejected meeting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last month following the Trump controversial move on Jerusalem, left the UNSC chamber before the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke.

Haley said her government was "ready to talk" with Palestinian President Abbas adding that Trump’s Middle East negotiators “are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

Abbas said that as part of the international peace conference his government would seek a full membership status at the United Nations and the implementation of all 86 Security Council resolutions in favor of Palestine, which have yet to be implemented due U.S. using its veto power at the body in favor of Israel.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the so-called Quartet, which is made up of the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the EU, along with the League of Arab States could play a role in kick-starting the stalled peace process.

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