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article imageAt UN, US takes swipe at Abbas

By AFP     Jan 25, 2018 in World

US Ambassador Nikki Haley took direct aim at Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Thursday, telling the United Nations Security Council that he lacked the courage needed for a peace deal.

Haley spoke soon after President Donald Trump insisted that Palestinians had "disrespected" the United States and issued a new threat to cut aid during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland.

The United States remains "deeply committed" to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Haley said, "but we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace."

"To get historic results, we need courageous leaders," she said.

The US ambassador, who has strongly defended Israel at the United Nations, said Abbas had "insulted" Trump and called for suspending recognition of Israel after the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abbas cancelled a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence to protest the US decision on Jerusalem, which the Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.

Addressing the council, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the search for peace had been Abbas' "life's work" and suggested attacks on the Palestinian leader were a form of "demonization."

Mansour said the Palestinian rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem "is not intended as 'disrespect'" but rather a "position rooted in full respect for the law, for the principles of justice and equity."

The Security Council was meeting to discuss Israeli-Palestinian tensions for the first time since the General Assembly voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The US move broke with decades of international consensus that the city's status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

The meeting also followed a US decision to freeze more than $100 million in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) that has been criticized by European governments.

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