Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat says will not attend Warsaw conference

Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat says will not attend Warsaw conference
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Friday that Palestinian officials will not attend next week's US conference hosted by Poland after a US official said they had been invited. (Reuters)
Updated 08 February 2019

Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat says will not attend Warsaw conference

Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat says will not attend Warsaw conference

WASHINGTON: Palestinian officials will not attend next week's US conference hosted by Poland, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Friday after a US official said they had been invited.
"Regarding statements that we have been invited, we can say that only today there was some contact from the Polish side," Erekat said on Twitter. "Our position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine."

Earlier, a senior US official said that Palestinian officials had been invited to a US conference on the Middle East hosted by Poland next week where White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will discuss plans for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The senior administration official told reporters the event was "not a negotiation but a discussion" on Middle East peace.
"As noted we have asked the Palestinian Authority to send representatives to this event," the official said.
Kushner, who is US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, will also take part, the official said, and he "will discuss the administration's efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians and also take questions from the audience."
"We would very much welcome the Palestinian Authority's perspectives during the discussion, but I do want to emphasize this is not a negotiation but a discussion, and we look forward to fostering a constructive conversation in Warsaw," he added.
The State Department has said more than 40 countries will attended the conference in Warsaw from Feb. 12 to 14.
Kushner has been working on a peace plan for more than a year. The Warsaw event will be one of the first occasions where he will discuss the plan publicly, although he is not expected to reveal any details.


President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

Updated 13 min 3 sec ago

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon
  • Said Tehran would have to agree to new demands if return to deal was possible
  • Added Tehran must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies

LONDON: US President-elect Joe Biden said he is against Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, adding it is the “last thing” the Middle East region needs, in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

Biden also said that his administration would seek to extend the duration of “restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a (nuclear) bomb” in any new negotiations on a nuclear deal.

He added that Tehran would have to agree to new demands if a return to a deal was possible and that it must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Incumbent President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal struck in 2018 and reimposed strong sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic republic.

Biden, who defeated Trump at the ballot box last month, said during campaigning that he did not support the lifting of sanctions but intended to offer Iran a “credible path back to diplomacy.”

However, in the NYT interview published on Wednesday, he admitted that getting Iran to agree to a modified deal would be “hard.”

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region,” Biden was quoted as saying.

“The best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” was to deal “with the nuclear program,” he added.

The president-elect warned that if Iran acquired a bomb, it would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and that “the last . . . thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability,” he added.

“In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program,” he told the Times.

Biden was cited as saying that the US always had the option to snap back sanctions if needed, and that Iran knew that.

The JCPOA had given Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

* With AFP