Moscow UN envoy says Russia will back PA state bid

"We are not pushing them into it. We are saying that 'Whatever you decide to do, we will support you,'" Russian ambassador to UN says.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, KHALED ABU TOA
September 12, 2011 18:22
2 minute read.
Victory signs flashed in front of Palestinian flag

palestinian flag_311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

Russia will vote in favor of declaring a Palestinian State at the United Nations in September, according to Moscow's ambassador to the world body.

"We will, of course, be voting for any of the Palestinians' proposals," Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency, according to AFP.

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"But I must say that we are not pushing them into it. We are saying that 'Whatever you decide to do, we will support you,'" he added.

Russia had previously expressed support for the Palestinian statehood bid, but had not stated explicitly that it would vote in favor of UN recognition of a Palestinian State.

Last week the US officially asked the Palestinian Authority to abandon its plan to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.

The request was relayed to PA President Mahmoud Abbas by US Middle East envoy David Hale during a meeting in Ramallah, Palestinian officials said. The meeting was attended by senior White House official Dennis Ross and US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubenstien.

The officials said that the US envoys did not carry any new proposals for reviving the peace process.

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat quoted the US envoy as saying that the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – were preparing a new initiative that envisages the establishment of a Palestinian state “on the basis of the 1967 borders.”

According to Israeli officials, the idea is that Israel would enter the negotiations using the 1967 lines, with mutually-agreed swaps, as the basis of talks, if the Palestinians agree that the goal of the negotiations would be two states – a Palestinian state and a Jewish one.

Israeli officials have noted that Jerusalem, while not endorsing the 1967 lines, would agree to language that would say that Israel recognized that this was the position of the international community.

This idea has been bouncing around since mid-July, when it was brought to the Quartet, but not accepted there. While the US supported, and continues to support the idea, the Russians were opposed to placing recognition of the Jewish state in the formula, and the Europeans took a middle position on the Jewish-state issue between the US and Russia.

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