PLO welcomes Paris conference statement, Hamas says talks with Israel waste of time

gaza unRAMALLAH/GAZA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the final statement of the Sunday’s international peace conference in Paris, while Islamic Hamas movement said talks with Israel are just waste of time.
“We believe it is a very positive sign that the international community is willing to engage, and engage positively in order to rescue the world-backed two-state solution,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, said in an emailed press statement.

The one-day peace conference in Paris, attended by representatives from about 70 countries as well as the European Union, the United Nations, the Arab League, and two other African and Islamic organizations, called for resuming the stalled peace process.

“Following the ministerial meeting held in Paris on June 3, 2016, the participants met in Paris on January 15, 2017 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said the Middle East peace conference joint declaration.
The declaration reaffirmed that “a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.”

It also called for taking urgent steps “to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct peace negotiations between the two sides.”
Ashrawi hailed the declaration and expressed hope to see it implemented.
“We believe this French initiative is one ray of hope in a situation that is extremely bleak and very dangerous,” he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday evening that “Paris conference has reaffirmed and reiterated all international legitimacy resolutions, including pillars of international law, rejecting any dictations, settlements ant imposing realities on the ground, including Jerusalem.”
Abbas expressed thanks to the French President and government for hosting this conference and exerting all necessary efforts for its success.
“The outcomes of the conference echo the UN Security Council resolution 2334,” said Abbas.

The Palestinian president also called on states that haven’t yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so, in order to safeguard the two-state solution and spread security and stability in the region.

So far 138 countries have recognized Palestine as a state, including Vatican.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said that the concluding statement issued by more than 70 foreign ministers is a message to Israel that it can’t achieve peace and security without ending its occupation first.

In an emailed statement, Erekat urged France to immediately recognize the Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“We appreciate the participation of each and every country and their commitment to the right of our people to establish our independent sovereign state to live side by side in peace and security alongside Israel. They have again created a momentum in rejection to Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise on the land of Palestine,” said the statement.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Paris peace conference statement added to the latest UN resolution against Israeli settlements and constitutes another diplomatic achievement for Palestinians.
Malki said the adopted statement reflects the international consensus rejecting the occupation.

The Paris conference for the Middle East peace concluded its one-day deliberations after France launched a peace initiative a year ago to revive peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.

Hamas, however, seemed to show no interest in the peace conference in Paris.
“Hamas doesn’t count on international conferences, because the Israeli occupation has never shown any commitment to respect or implement the outcomes of these conferences,” Abdulatif al-Qanooa, the new spokesman for Hamas, said in an emailed press statement.

“Hamas believes that any more peace negotiations with the Israeli occupation are just waste of time, therefore, we call on the Palestinian (National) Authority to make reconciliation and unite to confront the Israeli occupation,” he added.
A statement of the PNA ministry of foreign affairs has earlier called for forming a large international coalition to “back the outcomes of the international peace conference in Paris.”
The latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, brokered by the United States, lasted nine months and collapsed in April 2014 with no tangible results.

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