Mideast peace proposal nearly ready, says US
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on 22 February that a proposal for a long awaited peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians is near completion.
‘I think they're finishing it up,’ Nikki Haley said, when asked about formulations of a Middle East peace proposal during an appearance at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
The news came a day after US President Donald Trump's two top envoys on the Middle East, son-in-law Jared Kushner and adviser Jason Greenblatt, met with UN Security Council ambassadors and asked for their support of the upcoming peace plan.
Without offering specifics of when a proposal might be unveiled, Haley said: ‘They're still going back and forth. The plan won't be loved by either side. And it won't be hated by either side. But it's a template to start talking.’
The revelations came after questioning by the academic institute's chief David Axelrod – a former senior advisor to Trump's predecessor Barack Obama – about the US's controversial decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Haley said: ‘Congress had overwhelmingly voted to name Jerusalem the capital of Israel and to put our embassy in the capital.’
She said multiple presidents had struggled with a ‘fear doctrine that the sky was going to fall’ if such a declaration was made.
Haley added: ‘The sky is still up there. And now what we have is a time where the negotiations can start between Israelis and Palestinians.’
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on 21 February called for an international conference to be held by mid-2018 to launch a wider peace process in which the US would not have the central mediating role.