Abbas calls for talks on Palestine statehood

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President Donald Trump's top negotiators welcomed a United Nations speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that recognized Jerusalem's holiness to Jews, a sign that the sides are edging back toward restarting peace talks.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyBidens pose with Bradley Cooper at Super Bowl Nikki Haley praises Justin Timberlake for "awesome" Super Bowl performance Syria rejects USA accusations of chemical weapons use MORE slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. on Tuesday after he declined to stay in the chamber for her remarks.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and United Nations resolutions call on countries to refrain from moving their embassies to the city until its status is resolved in an Israeli-Palestinian deal.

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Haley said she had worked since taking her role to address the bias against Israel at the United Nations but said it did not mean the USA didn't recognize "the suffering of the Palestinian people".

But Mr Abbas can expect a swift and forceful response from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, a staunch proponent of the move who has already defended it before the world body. "The choice, Mr President, is yours".

"But we will not chase after you", Haley said.

There is heightened tension on the Israel-Palestine issue, following the United States decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the UNSC's subsequent vote on a draft resolution, reaffirming that any decisions and actions that purport to have altered the status of Jerusalem are null and void.

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"We were hoping to hear some new and constructive ideas, and the recognition that Jerusalem is holy to Jews in addition to Muslims and Christians is a step in the right direction, but as Ambassador Haley warned, setting forth old talking points and undeveloped concepts for each of the core issues will not achieve peace", the statement said.

In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem.

Haley also took the opportunity to respond to comments made earlier this month by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who said she should "shut up" with her criticism of Abbas.

He told countries of the Security Council that recognising the Palestinian state "will not damage any future negotiation".

In his speech, Abbas had said, "We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day".

Abbas left the Security Council meeting room immediately after finishing his speech, without listening to the delegates from Israel and the US. But know this: "That decision will not change".

The Trump administration is preparing a new peace plan even though chances for agreement appear dim.