Abbas to seek wider peace process in UN speech: officials

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RAMALLAH, FEB 20 (DNA) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will call for an alternative to US-mediated negotiations with Israel during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council, Palestinian officials said Monday. Addressing the council Tuesday for the first time since 2009, the longtime Palestinian leader is expected to call for multiple international powers to facilitate peace negotiations and again criticise the United States  controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel s capital.

President Donald Trump s December announcement angered the Palestinians, who also consider the city the capital of their future state, and led them to say the US had disqualified itself from its traditional role as lead mediator in talks with Israel.

In a statement ahead of the visit, Abbas s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told state media a “new phase of struggle has started” as they seek to protect their claim to Jerusalem.

Senior Palestinian official Nasser al-Qudwa said on Monday that Abbas would be looking to gain support for a multilateral initiative, but added that the Palestinians would not dictate what shape it would take.