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Friday, August 14, 2020, 18:12
UN chief welcomes suspension of West Bank annexation
By Agencies
Friday, August 14, 2020, 18:12 By Agencies

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under which Israel will suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, said his spokesman on Thursday.

Peace in the Middle East is more important than ever as the region confronts the grave threats of COVID-19 and radicalization

The joint statement by US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan suspends Israeli annexation plans over parts of the occupied West Bank, something the secretary-general has consistently called for, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

"The secretary-general welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realize a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements," it said.

Annexation would effectively close the door for a renewal of negotiations and destroy the prospect of a viable Palestinian state and the two-state solution, it noted.

Peace in the Middle East is more important than ever as the region confronts the grave threats of COVID-19 and radicalization. The secretary-general will continue to work with all sides to open further possibilities for dialogue, peace and stability, said the statement.

US Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden hailed the deal as a historic step toward a more stable Middle East, warning he would not support Israel’s annexation of Jewish settlements if he wins the White House in November.

ALSO READ: Israel, UAE to normalize ties, West Bank annexations on hold

“The UAE and Israel’s decision to normalize relations is hugely good news,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter. British Foreign minister Dominic Raab said it was “time for direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel, the only route to lasting peace.”

France welcomes the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.

Jordan said that the deal could push forward stalled peace negotiations if it succeeds in prodding Israel to accept a Palestinian state on land that Israel had occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also welcomed the deal, said on Twitter that he values the efforts of those in charge of the deal to achieve prosperity and stability for the region.

The Gulf state of Oman said on Friday it supported the UAE’ decision to normalize ties with Israel, saying it hoped the accord would contribute to a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace in the Middle East.

Turkey said that history will not forget and never forgive the “hypocritical behaviour” of the UAE in agreeing a deal with Israel to normalise relations.

READ MORE: Israel, UAE to cooperate in fight against coronavirus

Trump and Netanyahu announced separately on Thursday that Israel and the UAE have agreed to establish diplomatic ties. The agreement is in return for Israel's suspension of its annexation plans indefinitely.

The agreement would make the UAE the first Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel.

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