PLO Welcomes Paris Summit Statement

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Palestinian officials welcomed the closing statement of Sunday's Middle East peace conference "which stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation," Palestinian Liberation Organization secretary general Saeb Erekat said on Monday.

PLO Welcomes Paris Summit Statement

The conference's closing statement called on both sides to avoid "unilateral steps" and stressed that the basis for negotiations should be the 1967 borders, before Israel occupied the West Bank and east al-Quds.

The PLO called on conference host France and all the countries that attended the meeting in Paris to "recognize Palestine in line with their recognition of Israel".

According to Erekat, a former Palestinian peace negotiator, participants "created a momentum" in rejecting "Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise".

The meeting constituted a message to Israel "to abide by international law" and "end its military occupation of Palestine" in order to pave the way for peace and stability in the region, Erekat said, the New Arab reported.

"It is time to stop dealing with Israel as a country above the law and to hold it accountable for its systematic violations of international law and the rights of our people."

France organized the gathering to reaffirm global support for a Palestinian state existing alongside an “Israeli state” - a scenario the Palestinians fear could be jeopardized by Donald Trump's incoming US administration.

Neither side attended the conference, which the Palestinians supported, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier dismissed it as "futile".

Both Netanyahu and Abbas have been invited to meet with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the conference's outcome.

Abbas is expected to travel to Paris in the coming weeks but Netanyahu has rejected the offer, French diplomats said.

Around 70 countries attending the talks in Paris called on the two sides to avoid moves that "prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including inter alia, Jerusalem (al-Quds), borders, security, refugees".

The participants in the conference "will not recognize" such steps, they warned in a statement.

They also agreed that the basis for the negotiations should be the 1967 borders, which French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault set out as the cornerstone of final-status negotiations.

"The basis is the 1967 borders and the major UN resolutions," he said.

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