Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the United States Wednesday to back the Palestinian Authority and “stop arming the occupation” in the occupied West Bank.
Speaking at the opening of a new conference on regional cooperation and trade between the Palestinian and Israeli governments, Abbas said the two sides must “find a way to resume peace negotiations.”
“We have made clear that we need the United State to support us in this initiative and we also demand the U.S. to stop supporting the occupation,” Abbas said.
“We want to restore the full sovereignty of the Palestinian people and our national aspirations.”
The Palestinians hope the talks will lead to a new agreement that would establish a Palestinian state along with the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The United States, which has supported Abbas’s Palestinian Authority in the past, is expected to attend the talks, which were announced in April.
But the Palestinians have criticized the United Nations, which last year announced a special envoy for the Palestinian cause.
They have also accused Israel of using U.N. resolutions as a tool against them, and of having the backing of some Western countries.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is ready to resume talks but has not ruled out military action.
“The Palestinians want to establish the conditions for dialogue and negotiations,” Abbas told reporters.
“I hope we can get a good deal for both sides.”
In a statement on Wednesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was important that the parties continue to explore all options to reach a deal.
“It is important to recognise that there is still a long way to go before we reach a long-term solution,” Hague said.
The Palestinians have been seeking the U,S.
and other nations to halt settlement building and construction in the West Bank, and also for the release of Palestinian prisoners, in the hope of ending the 50-year Israeli occupation of the territory.
In a separate move, Abbas’s administration announced that it had granted Jerusalem a new city to call Ramallah.
The new Palestinian city, which was to be called al-Quds, will be in an area currently under Israeli control.