Paris: Europe and Russia on Tuesday gave a lukewarm response to President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan while key Muslim countries denounced it as betrayal of the Palestinians.
The EU and Russia, which have tried to help revive the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, pledged to study the plan but insisted it must satisfy both sides.
Saying it offered a “new dawn” for the region, Trump unveiled the plan flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but Palestinian leaders had already resounding rejected it and stayed away from the launch.
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said the bloc will “study and assess” Trump’s proposals on the basis of its commitment to a “negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
Germany, the EU’s most powerful player, echoed Borrell’s point by calling for a balanced approach.
“Only a negotiated two-state solution, acceptable to both sides, can lead to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Britain, which is leaving the EU on Friday and has long had a special relationship with Washington, gave the warmest reaction.
“This is clearly a serious proposal, reflecting extensive time and effort,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Trump to discuss the plans.
Downing Street said the proposal “could prove a positive step forwards”.
Russia said it would study the plan and called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate directly to find a “mutually acceptable compromise.”
Introducing a note of doubt, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said: “We do not know if the American proposal is mutually acceptable or not. We must wait for the reaction of the parties.”
Netanyahu is expected to visit Moscow on Wednesday to present the plan to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Iran, which does not recognise Israel and has been in a confrontation with the Trump administration, denounced the plan as a threat to regional stability.
“The shameful peace plan imposed by America on the Palestinians is the treason of the century and doomed to fail”, the Iranian foreign ministry said.
The Palestinian Authority
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who has taken part in previous US-led peace talks with Israel, vowed Trump’s plan will “not pass.”
Abbas made the statement in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a meeting of various Palestinian factions including Islamist group Hamas, which pledged to “resist the deal in all its forms.”
Lebanon’s Iranian-backed movement Hezbollah, which Washington calls a terrorist group, said the plan represented an attempt to “wipe out the Palestinian people’s rights”, adding that the “shameful move... could not have been made without the complicity and betrayal of a certain number of Arab regimes.”