Abbas Meets Chile's Pinera, to Visit Jordan for Talks With King on U.S. Peace Plan

Palestinian president and King Abdullah expected to discuss Bahrain summit, which the Palestinian leadership boycotted

Sebastian Pinera with Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Ramallah on June 27, 2019.
REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera on Thursday in Ramallah, explaining that he boycotted this week's summit in Bahrain because a political settlement must precede any economic program for the Palestinian people.

Only a political solution that ensures freedom, liberty and justice for the Palestinian people can promise stability, Abbas told Pinera.

Abbas is set to travel to Amman on Friday to meet with Jordan's king for discussions about the U.S.-sponsored efforts to formulate a Middle East peace plan following the Bahrain summit, which included Jordanian representatives. 

Pinera lays a wreath at Arafat's grave in Ramallah, June. 27, 2019.
Nasser Nasser,AP
Sebastian Pinera at the Dome of the Rock during their visit on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, June 25, 2019.
\ AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

>> Read more: Meet the Chilestinians, the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East

During his visit to the West Bank following meetings in Israel, Pinera also visited Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's grave in Ramallah.

On Wednesday, Israel's Foreign Ministry reprimanded the Chilean ambassador over a visit a day earlier to the Temple Mount, during which the Chilean president was accompanied by Palestinian officials, including the head of Jerusalem's Waqf Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhab and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadmi.

The Foreign Ministry said that the Palestinian officials' presence violated an earlier agreement, and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz was quoted as saying that Israel views this as a "violation of Israel's sovereignty."

Chile's Embassy in Israel sent a missive later that day to Israel's Foreign Ministry, saying that Pinera and his delegation were not aware and did not agree to be formally accompanied by Palestinian officials during their visit to the Temple Mount and that the visit was defined as "private."

Netanyahu and Pinera observe government officials signing bilateral agreements in Jerusalem, June 26, 2019.
\ POOL/ REUTERS
Pinera during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, June 25, 2019.
AFP

Chile is a home to a Palestinian community considered the largest in the world outside the Middle East. Leaders of the Palestinian community there, as well as of Chile’s Jewish community, are accompanying Pinera on his trip.

Other than the Temple Mount, Pinera visited Tuesday the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the Western Wall, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and other religious sites.

In Israel, Pinera met with President Reuven Rivlin and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two nations signed three bilateral agreements in the areas of technology, health and aviation. Pinera also had dinner with Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.