Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said there is an “urgent” need for a UN resolution on Israeli settlements as he embarks on a multi-country tour that may be among his last chances to renew peace efforts.
In an interview, Abbas criticised what he said was insufficient action from US President Barack Obama’s administration while also firmly backing a French initiative to hold an international peace conference this summer.
Abbas spoke ahead of a tour beginning Tuesday that will take him to Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and New York, where the Palestinians are discussing a UN draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The trip comes with the clock ticking for both the 81-year-old and the Obama administration, with speculation the US president could change tack and support a resolution on the peace process before he leaves office in January.
“The Security Council is a very important subject because it has now become urgent due to settlement activities and because Israel has not stopped these activities,” Abbas said late Monday at his office in Ramallah.
Settlement construction in the West Bank “is something that has seriously jeopardised the two-state project.”
The United States has repeatedly vetoed resolutions opposed by Israel at the UN Security Council, but the Palestinians are hoping for a change of heart.
“So far, we have not got any reaction from the Americans regarding the Security Council,” said Abbas.
He criticised US efforts so far.
“We were expecting from the US administration over the past eight years that it would take positive steps forward to achieve what America believes in, which is the two-state vision,” he said.