PA seeks help from Europe over resolution draft

No EU country has expressed interest yet in taking part in document that would be presented to UN.

October 3, 2012 01:07
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses UNGA

PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses UNGA _311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Palestinian Authority wants EU countries to help draft a resolution that would admit “Palestine” as a non-member state in the UN General Assembly in an effort to gain EU support for the move, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat met with the heads of EU missions in Jerusalem last month and asked them – either as individual countries or collectively as the EU – to help draft the resolution that will be taken to the world body.

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So far no country has expressed a willingness to do so.

The rationale for the request is that if the EU as a whole, or even certain EU countries, have a hand in drafting the resolution, then it would be much more difficult for them to either abstain or vote against the motion.

The EU has not held a formal discussion on its position on the matter, though it may come up at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels on October 15.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas said at his speech to the UN last week that he had begun intensive consultations with regional organizations and UN member states about the step. One idea that has been floated would be for the move to be brought to the General Assembly on November 29, the anniversary of the day when the UN adopted the Partition Plan in 1947 – a move that was accepted at the time by the Jewish community, but rejected by the Arabs.

The Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday that the US warned European governments about the Palestinian UN bid, saying it would be “extremely counterproductive” and would lead to “significant negative consequences” for the PA, including financial sanctions.

According to the report, the US memorandum – communicated to EU officials at the recent General Assembly meeting – urged the EU countries to block the bid.

A more realistic expectation, however, would be for the EU to abstain on the move.

In recent weeks, the Foreign Ministry has enhanced its efforts to get the EU countries either to vote against, or – barring that – at least to abstain.

When the Palestinians gained entrance as a state into UNESCO in November, the EU countries split, with five countries voting against, 11 voting for, and 11 abstaining.

This voting pattern runs contrary to the EU’s stated goal of a unified foreign policy, and is something Brussels tries to avoid.

Some in Jerusalem believe that the PA will only take its bid to the UN for a vote if Abbas is confident of getting a “yes” vote from a significant number of established Western democracies. This would not be the case were the EU to abstain on the matter.

The Palestinians are believed to have delayed bringing the motion to the General Assembly now so as not to embarrass US President Barack Obama before the November 6 elections.

The US, however, would like the motion pushed off well after that date to give whoever wins the election, Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a chance to assess the situation.

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