'Erekat: Abbas to personally ask UN for state recognition'

Palestinian negotiator's comments come after reports indicate Arab League will turn to the UN on behalf of Palestinians;

July 16, 2011 16:40
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will personally present a resolution seeking Palestinian statehood to the United Nations this September, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday. Earlier this week, reports indicated that the Arab League would present the resolution to the UN on behalf of the Palestinians.

Erekat explained that the reason for Abbas's personal appearance in the UN is to avoid undermining the PLO's position as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported. Abbas is the president of the PLO's executive committee.

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Erekat also slammed the United States's position on the issue of statehood, saying that there is no reason for the US to use its UN Security Council veto to stifle Palestinian statehood efforts.

Washington, he added, should reevaluate its support for Israel in order to become an objective broker in the peace process, according to the report.

Following an Arab League meeting late last week, Erekat said that the league's ministers had decided to send letters to all countries that have not yet recognized the Palestinian state, asking them to do so ahead of the UN vote in September.

A copy of a draft statement from the Arab League meeting said, "It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership." A copy of the statement was obtained by Reuters.

The statement did not provide a timeline, indicating the application would be made in time for the UN assembly in September. A Palestinian delegate said the Arab League had appointed a committee to determine dates.

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Full member status would require approval in the Security Council, where the United States had said it would veto any such resolution.

The Palestinians, who currently hold UN "observer" status, had previously pledged to seek UN endorsement in September for their claim of sovereignty in the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The move has gained momentum with the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The Arab League formally backed this plan in May.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Reuters contributed to this report

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