RAMALLAH, Saturday, February 16, 2019 (WAFA) – Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), challenged United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in explaining how Palestinians are worse-off by not attending the recently held Warsaw conference.
Pompeo said in Warsaw on Thursday that the Palestinians are a little worse-off for not participating in the 2-day conference held in the Polish capital under the banner of peace and security in the Middle East, and which was boycotted by the Palestinians and many other nations.
“I regret it. I wish they had been here to be part of the conversation,” said Pompeo answering a reporter’s question on what does he think about Palestinians boycotting the conference. “I regret that the Palestinians rejected the invitation that was extended to them. I wish they had come here. I think the Palestinian people are a little worse off because their leaders chose not to participate.”
Responding on his Twitter account to Pompeo’s remarks, Erekat asked: “Can someone explain to me how are we worse-off by not attending Warsaw? Is the art of negotiations to put the other side in a position where they have nothing to lose? Indeed there is a great difference between tough negotiators and non-negotiators.”
Erekat had earlier said on Twitter on the Warsaw conference that "Our position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine."
The PLO official and Palestinian leadership in general have looked at the Warsaw conference as a US-Israeli “conspiracy” aimed at ending the Palestinian cause through implementation of the so-called deal of the century that advocates normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel on the ground that they have a common enemy, Iran, while ignoring Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land and Palestinian aspirations to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
Pompeo admitted in his remarks in Warsaw that the conference brought together Israelis and Arabs for the first time in recent history.
“We saw for one of the first times in recent history the Israelis and the Arabs sitting together talking about how to deliver Middle East peace and security in the future. That’s a wonderful advance and real progress,” he said. “It was a remarkable thing to watch these leaders meet and gather and have conversations.”
Pompeo admitted also that the American architects of the deal of the century were in Warsaw and that they have shared outlines of the deal.
“Mr. (Jarod) Kushner was here along with Mr. (Jason) Greenblatt. They shared a little bit of the outlines of the deal, really the central tenets of what we’re hoping to achieve. And we hope we are able to roll out the full plan, all of the details of that plan, in the weeks ahead.”