Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani urges both sides to find a compromise and begin negotiations, warns against imposing US-led "deal of the century" on the Palestinians.

Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani says,
Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani says, "Our position remains very firm: We are going to support any plan that the Palestinians are willing to accept." (Reuters)

Qatar has been talking to both Iran and the United States about de-escalation, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani told reporters in London on Sunday, urging both sides to meet and find a compromise.

"We believe that at one point there should an engagement – it cannot last forever like this," he said. 

"Since they are not willing to engage in further escalation, they should come up with ideas that open the doors."

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States in recent weeks after Washington reimposed economic sanctions on Iran after unilaterally withdrawing out of a big-power nuclear deal, and sending forces to the Middle East in a show of force to counter what US officials called Iranian threats to US troops and regional interests.

US President Donald Trump antagonised Iran, and dismayed key US allies, last year when he exited a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers under which Tehran curbed its nuclear programme in return for an easing of most international sanctions.

Backing Palestinians

On US-led "peace plan" also called "deal of the century" touted to end Palestine-Israel conflict, Al Thani said Qatar will accept any Middle East peace plan that is acceptable to the Palestinians, also warning that any US-led solution cannot be imposed on Palestinians.

"As far as we see, right now there is a disconnect between the Palestinians and the US," he said. 

"Our position remains very firm: We are going to support any plan that the Palestinians are willing to accept."

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, who has been trying to put together a "peace plan", said in an interview broadcast last week that the Palestinians deserve "self-determination", but stopped short of backing Palestinian statehood and expressed uncertainty over their "ability" to govern themselves.

Palestinians have rejected the deal, saying it benefits US ally Israel. 

Politically, the deal envisages an expansion of Gaza into part of northern Egypt, under Egyptian control, Palestinian officials briefed on the plan told Reuters news agency. 

Palestinians would be left with a smaller share of the West Bank and some areas on the outskirts of Jerusalem and no control over their borders. 

US project is 'dangerous'

"The Palestinian cause is being liquidated - no Jerusalem (as capital), no right of return for refugees, no sovereign state. That is why this American project is dangerous," one senior Palestinian leader told Reuters last month.

The deal as outlined so far has been dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas' western-backed Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Abbas has boycotted political dealings with the Trump administration for 18 months. This followed Trump's decisions in 2017 to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Washington plans a first formal outing of the economic components of the plan at a "Peace for Prosperity" workshop in Bahrain this month. 

Source: Reuters