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US backs creation of Palestinian state – Blinken

US top diplomat Antony Blinken told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday that Washington supports “tangible steps” towards the creation of a Palestinian state. Blinken…

US top diplomat Antony Blinken told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday that Washington supports “tangible steps” towards the creation of a Palestinian state.

Blinken reiterated Washington’s longstanding position that a Palestinian state must stand alongside Israel, “with both living in peace and security”, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Palestinian statehood was anticipated following the Oslo Accords of the 1990s but talks have been moribund for years.

The Israeli government has shown no interest in reviving negotiations and the Palestinian leadership remains split between the Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, and Hamas which rules Gaza.

In talks with Abbas in the occupied West Bank, Blinken mentioned “increased volatility” in the territory, where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in raids by the Israeli military or attacks by Jewish settlers in recent months.

As part of efforts to stabilise the territory, Blinken called on Israel to hand over revenues owed to the Palestinians in full.

Blinken “underscored the United States’ position that all Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel should be consistently conveyed to the Palestinian Authority in accordance with prior agreements,” Miller said.

Israel has for years withheld part of the funds, over issues including payments to Palestinian prisoners and more recently the Gaza war.

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