TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman mounted pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to back a so-called US-sponsored peace plan for Israel-Palestine, Palestinian officials said.
Abbas was invited to Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Tuesday where he held talks with King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman.
The invitation came shortly following a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul where Abbas announced that he would no longer accept the US as a broker in the peace process.
However, on Tuesday bin Salman told Abbas that the US was "the only game in town" with regards to the peace process.
"The US is the only one with real influence on Israel, it's the only country that can put pressure on Israel in any peace process and no one else can do (that), neither EU, nor Russia or China," bin Salman told Abbas, according to Palestinian officials with knowledge of the meeting, The Middle East Eye reported.
The Saudi crown prince had reportedly told Abbas in a previous visit early this month that the US was "preparing for a peace deal, and this deal might not look good at the beginning but at the end it will be good."
"At some point bin Salman warned President Abbas that if he doesn't do the job in Lebanon, there are others who can do it, pointing to Mohammed Dahlan," one official said.
US President Donald Trump's peace plan was widely criticized last month for proposing that the question of East Quds (Jerusalem), which the Palestinians want for the capital of a future state, and the issue of returning refugees to be postponed until later negotiations.
In the most recent meeting with Abbas, bin Salman attempted to use "soft diplomacy" to try to persuade the Palestinian president to return the US-sponsored peace process and to receive US Vice President Mike Pence in his upcoming visit to the region.
The official said Abbas was clear to the prince that if their plan is to “drag us to the Israeli version of peace, we cannot (accept it)”.
"The president will not accept any partial deal, and the only deal that can be accepted is the one based on the 1967 borders," one official said.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly expressed worry that Saudi Arabia is forgoing important Palestinian rights as it acts behind the scenes to advance a US “grand bargain” over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that heavily favors Israel.
Saudi Arabia’s maneuvering over Palestine comes amid increasing reports that the Riyadh regime is preparing a normalization of ties with Tel Aviv.