Abbas to hold Middle East meeting in New York

Abbas to hold Middle East meeting in New York

United Nations: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has invited Middle East envoys, foreign ministers and Security Council diplomats to a meeting in New York next week to discuss prospects for peace, the Palestinian ambassador said Wednesday.

The meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly debate was called amid a crisis in ties with President Donald Trump’s administration over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cuts to Palestinian aid.

Abbas will meet with the group of 30 ministers and diplomats including the heads of UN committees that deal with Palestinian issues on September 26, a day before he is scheduled to deliver his address at the General Assembly.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour did not provide details, but he told reporters that there had been a “radical shift” under the Trump administration to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The Palestinian leadership cut off contact with the White House after Trump decided to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, whose eastern area the Palestinians claim as their own capital.

Palestinian leaders see Trump’s administration as blatantly biased in favor of Israel.

Abbas addressed the Security Council in February to call for an international conference to re-launch the peace process under a new mediator to replace the United States.

Trump has tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt with the drafting of a peace plan, but there has been some skepticism about whether the proposals will materialize.

It remains unclear whether there will be contacts between the Palestinians and the US administration on the sidelines of the weeklong General Assembly debate.

Shortly after Abbas delivers his address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have his turn at the podium to deliver what is likely to be a strong rebuttal.