BFF-74 US losing Israel-Palestine mediator role: Spain

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BFF-74

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-CONFLICT-US-SPAIN

US losing Israel-Palestine mediator role: Spain

MADRID, Sept 4, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell
and his Palestinian counterpart warned Tuesday that Washington was losing its
traditional mediating role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by “aligning”
with Israel.

“I regret that the United States, which for many years played a role in
contributing to the peace process… are unfortunately disqualifying
themselves from playing a mediator role that has the confidence of both
parties,” Borrell told a press briefing in Madrid with his Palestinian
counterpart Riyad al-Maliki.

“The minister told me of his serious concern with regards to the
situation… as a consequence of the alignment of the United States on
Israeli positions,” Borrell said.

US President Donald Trump has pledged to unveil a plan for Israeli-
Palestinian peace saying he wants to reach the “ultimate deal”.

But Maliki said the US administration had decided “to be part of the
problem and not part of the solution”.

“The United States see the conflict through Israel’s eyes, they have
adopted the Israeli position,” he added, calling on the international
community to “take measures to save the peace process”.

Both ministers were reacting to the US announcement on Friday that it would
end funding for the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees UNWRA.

The United States also announced last month that it was cancelling more
than $200 million in bilateral aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Borrell, who condemned the moves, said Spain would double its own, far
smaller contribution to UNRWA, from one to two million euros.

He said he and Maliki had also talked about “recognition of a Palestinian
state”.

On Sunday, an Israeli peace activist said Palestinian president Mahmud
Abbas had told her US officials working on a peace plan had asked him about
forming a confederation with Jordan.

A confederation has been favoured by some on the Israeli right as a way to
avoid granting full statehood to the Palestinians for now.

Borrell dismissed this as speculation, saying: “I’m not going to believe it
until I see a tweet from President Trump.”

The Spanish parliament voted unanimously in 2014 to recognise a Palestinian
state, but that has remained symbolic.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2223 HRS