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16 Oct, 2022 10:04

US ‘furious’ over Palestinian leader’s comments to Putin – Axios

Mahmoud Abbas had said he had no confidence in Washington’s unilateral mediation of the Palestine-Israel conflict
US ‘furious’ over Palestinian leader’s comments to Putin – Axios

The White House is “deeply disappointed” in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for having voiced mistrust about Washington’s diplomatic efforts toward resolving Palestine's stand-off with Israel while lauding Russia’s stance on the matter, a spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC) told Axios on Saturday.

On Thursday, as Abbas praised Russia’s “clear position” about a peace settlement between Palestine and Israel, he reiterated his support for the so-called Quartet on the Middle East, a framework of mediators that includes Russia, the US, UN, and EU. However, he noted that Washington could not be the only mediator.

We don’t trust America and you know our position… under no circumstances can we accept that America is the sole party in resolving a problem,” he told Putin on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Astana, Kazakhstan.

He also commended Russia for “standing by justice and international law.”

According to two Axios sources, officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden were “furious” over Abbas’ remarks and conveyed this sentiment to his advisers. The NSC spokesperson told the outlet that “we were deeply disappointed to hear President Abbas’s remarks to President Putin.”

Russia does NOT stand for justice and international law, as evidenced by the latest vote at the UN General Assembly,” the spokesperson added, referring to the recent resolution that rejected the referendums in four former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.

The spokesperson also denounced Putin as “a far cry from the type of international partner” that can help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as opposed to Biden, who “has demonstrated US commitment for decades to seeking creative solutions.”

The spokesperson’s remarks come a week after US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Hussein Al-Sheikh, a top Palestinian official, to discuss regional stability.

This meeting followed Biden’s July talks with Abbas during which he confirmed his commitment to the idea of creating an independent state of Palestine. However, he answered “not right at this moment” to the question of restarting peace talks between Israel and Palestine, to which Abbas replied that the chance for a two-state solution may be slipping away.

Analysts suggest that the US leader was trying to mend ties with Palestine after his predecessor Donald Trump had pursued policies favorable to Israel. Russia and Palestine, however, have had warm relations for many years, with Abbas having visited the country more than a dozen times.