Abbas' Mission in Riyadh: Persuade Arab World to Oppose Trump's Peace Plan

Palestinian president lands in Saudi Arabia with closest advisers for meetings with King Salman, Prince Mohammed ■ Trip comes after top negotiator Erekat visited Egypt

ARCHIVE - Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 7, 2017
HANDOUT/ REUTERS

The Palestinian Authority is bracing for the publication of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan and has started working preemptively to ensure that Arab and Muslim countries will not support it.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Monday in Riyadh to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in an attempt to ensure Saudi support for the Palestinians in relation to the plan.

A senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that Abbas being accompanied by his closest advisors is a testament to the importance of the meeting. Also in Riyadh are Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, and Abbas’s diplomatic advisor, Majdi Khaldi.

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On Monday evening Faraj met with senior Saudi officials, mainly to discuss the peace plan and its implications. The Palestinian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bassim Al-Agha, told WAFA news agency that these discussions are meant to address what he would define as attempts to wipe out the Palestinian national issue.

Abbas’s visit to Riyadh follows a visit by Erekat to Cairo, which also dealt with opposition to the American peace plan.

According to the senior Palestinian official, “Egypt and Saudi Arabia are key countries in determining the position of the Arab nations regarding the American plan. It is important for Palestinians to see them take a clear stance on the issue. Their official positions support a two-state solution based on ‘67 borders and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the two countries are expected to reject any proposal that goes against this.”

In the 32nd meeting of the African Union on Monday, Abbas discussed the matter with heads of African nations, and said that the United States is no longer able to aid the diplomatic process.

The talks in Saudi Arabia are also expected to touch on Palestinian expectations of a financial safety net, considering recent American sanctions on the PA.

Al-Sheikh also told Palestinian media outlets that the Trump administration is exerting pressure on Arab and international banks to prevent transfer of funds to the PA. According to him, so far, the United States has prevented the transfer of 20 million dollars from Iraq meant to come through the Arab League. He said the banks refused to transfer the funds to the PA’s bank account or to the PLO’s investment fund.