PA launches campaign for EU recognition of statehood

By
April 19, 2011 17:57

Mahmoud Abbas set to visit France, Germany in bid to gain support for Palestinian state; Quartet reportedly weighing endorsement of state.

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Abbas

Abbas311 reuters. (photo credit: reuters)

The Palestinian Authority has launched a diplomatic campaign aimed at persuading EU countries to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines before September.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit France on Wednesday for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy on the Palestinian state issue.

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Abbas is hoping to convince Sarkozy to support the PA’s intention to ask the UN Security Council in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas is expected to meet next month with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to try to convince her, too, to recognize the Palestinian state.

Negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said on Tuesday that the PA was determined to pursue its efforts to ask the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state in September.

He said that in the context of these efforts, the PA was continuing to build state institutions and isolate Israel in the international arena.

Sha’ath predicted that by September, France, Sweden and Ireland would have recognized the proposed Palestinian state.

“By September, we would have won the recognition of two-thirds of the UN members,” he was quoted by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper as saying. “This will entitle us to go to the Security Council and demand full membership.”

Sha’ath said that if the US thwarted the PA’s moves through a veto, the Palestinians would take their case to the UN General Assembly.

“Then we could become a member with full rights in the General Assembly, which means that the independent state of Palestine, which is a UN member, would have its territories occupied by another UN member,” he explained.

Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted peace with the Palestinians, he “must start preparing his people for ending occupation.”

He said that Netanyahu must tell his people that Israel will have to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, recognize the State of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital and solve the various final-status issues if it wants peace with the Palestinians.

Erekat, who until recently was the PLO’s chief negotiator, expressed hope that the members of the Quartet – the US, EU, UN and Russia – would immediately recognize the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

“There is no political or legal justification for the committee not to take such an important step,” he said. “Recognition of the State of Palestine would contribute to the cause of peace and would be regarded as a victory for international law.”

Meanwhile, the PA said it was planning to again ask the UN Security Council to condemn settlement construction.

The PA is also planning to ask the International Court of Justice to rule that the settlements are illegal.

Wasel Abu Yusef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said the PA was now holding consultations with a number of Arab and Islamic countries to present to the Security Council another resolution condemning the settlements as illegal, noting that the US had vetoed a similar move a few weeks ago.

The PLO has entrusted a sixmember committee with studying the PA’s options before and after September.


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