Strategic observation

Interview: Israel must commit to two-state solution in order to resume peace process: Palestinian FM

2017-07-17 02:16:51 (Beijing Time)


RAMALLAH, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Israel must commit to the two-state solution in order to resume the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

Malki also reaffirmed the Palestinian position that the only and main track to reach a peace agreement is through political negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

"We consider that the political negotiations is the main road to reach peace, and we are ready to engage at the same time if Israel declares its commitment to the two-state solution as the main and only solution to the political process," Malki said.

Malki mentioned that the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump announced from the first day in office that it is ready to create a conducive atmosphere for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

"We are ready to cooperate with the U.S. administration within available possibilities; there were meetings between President Trump and President (Mahmoud) Abbas, and there were American delegations coming to Palestine and Palestinian delegations in Washington," he said.

Those meetings were aimed at allowing the U.S. administration "to form a clear and comprehensive vision" on how to resume the peace talks.

Malki said the Palestinian leadership has told the U.S. that it has no pre-conditions for returning to negotiations, except for the Israeli government to announce its commitment to the two-state solution.

The Palestinian-Israeli peace process was halted at the end of March 2014 after nine months of U.S.-sponsored talks without achieving any progress to resolve the decades-old conflict.

Regarding the agreement on water and energy that was signed recently between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel, Malki affirmed that it is not related to the peace process at all.

He said the preparation for the agreement has been in the works since a long time and was hindered by Israel. The U.S. pressured Israel to speed up the process.

Any agreement related to the daily life of Palestinians "does not represent any progress in the political process at all, such that the Israeli position is still stubborn, including its position towards settlement activity," Malki said.

The top Palestinian diplomat blamed Israel for hindering the U.S. efforts to resume the peace process by going ahead with settlement activities.

He also said that the Palestinian side refuses to bind the economic track to the peace process.

"Return to negotiations is an international demand that Israel must commit to, it must declare its commitment to the two-state solution and end settlement activity in order to return to negotiations, whereas other issues concerning the economic situation are an obligation that Israel must fulfill," Malki said.

He said that Israel, as an occupation power, has to meet its obligations of improving the economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories according to international law. Enditem