World 'must act to balance London peace conference'

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The Independent Online

The London conference on Palestinian institution-building due on 1 and 2 March is "an important step on the road to statehood" for the Palestinians, their envoy to the UK says.

The London conference on Palestinian institution-building due on 1 and 2 March is "an important step on the road to statehood" for the Palestinians, their envoy to the UK says.

"For us, it is an important moment to interact with 20 foreign ministers. We should not fall into the trap of previous attempts, in which too much was left to the local parties [Israelis and Palestinians], which allowed Israel to dictate conditions to the Palestinians," Afif Safieh told The Independent.

He said US alignment with Israeli policy had led to "European abdication, Russian decline, Arab impotence and hoped-for Palestinian resignation". But now, he said, with hope again in the ascendancy after the election of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian President, the international community should be actively involved in the peace process again and putting pressure on Israel.

"I don't think Israeli will be allowed to have a veto on international diplomacy," he said. "The Israelis should not be allowed to dictate the pace of movement. There won't be a solution unless there is a role by the international community."

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