Palestinian leader urges ‘historic' Mideast peace deal


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for forging "a historic peace deal" with Israel in line with the notion of a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict.

Abbas issued his appeal in an address he delivered at the 29th African Union Summit currently underway in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The Palestinian leader also urged African leaders to condition their relationship with Israel on the latter's commitment to ending its 50-year-old occupation of Palestinian land.

"Israeli participation in African regional conferences only encourages it to continue its arrogance and policies of occupation and to continue denying the rights of the Palestinian people to freedom, sovereignty and independence," Abbas said.

He went on to voice hope that AU member states would help change "the bitter reality experienced by our people as a result of the ongoing [Israeli] occupation".

Abbas added: "African support for resolutions in favor of Palestine in international forums will protect the two-state solution and contribute to the preservation of the rights of the occupied -- the Palestinians -- until peace is achieved."

"Resolving the question of Palestine by achieving a just solution is the key to peace in the region," he said. "This will eliminate pretexts used by terrorist groups in the region and contribute to regional security and global peace."

"Recent overtures in this regard by U.S. President Donald Trump have come at the right time; there is now a glimmer of hope for peacemaking," the Palestinian president asserted.

"We are now waiting for Israel to respond to President Trump's initiative for a historic peace deal based on the notion of a two-state solution," he said.

During a May visit to the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, Trump had vowed "to do everything" he could to bring about a final Palestine-Israel peace settlement.

U.S.-sponsored peace talks collapsed in 2014 over Israel's refusal to halt settlement-building activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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