'PA won't 'back down' from UN statehood bid'

Erekat says Palestinian initiative for UN membership will be brought to vote "in the near future."

December 2, 2011 05:03
1 minute read.

PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority "will not back down" from their efforts to become a member of the United Nations, even though the PA has acknowledged that they would not succeed were the Security Council to vote today, senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat told Ma'an News Agency Thursday.

Erekat said the PA would persist even if the request fails to pass in the Security Council, adding that the PA leadership knew from the outset that United States would use its veto on the initiative.

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The PA negotiator said the Palestinian government would persist until "our right to establish a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders" is fulfilled.

Erekat said that the Security Council would vote on the Palestinian initiative in the "near future," according to Ma'an. He did not give an exact date.

Palestinians have acknowledged that they do not have the nine votes necessary to obtain a favorable vote at the Security Council on
their membership.

Erekat's comments echoed those of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, who said earlier this week in Austria that the statehood bid was meant to salvage the two-state solution.

Before meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo in mid-November over stalled efforts to form a unity government with the Islamist group, Abbas urged Palestinians not to feel frustrated by the PA's lack of progress on the UN statehood bid.

“We won’t backtrack,” he declared. “We went to the Security Council and we will go a second and third time. We won’t give up.”

Abbas also said that the statehood bid was not aimed at delegitimizing or isolating Israel. However, he added, the PA seeks to isolate Israel’s policies in the international community.

The Security Council has no set timetable as to when, or whether, a vote on the issue will take place.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Jordana Horn contributed to this report.

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