PA won’t pull UN bid even if Israel accepts pre-conditions

Abbas met Colombian President to urge him to vote in favor of bid; Abbas rejected Colombia's offer to mediate between PA and Israel.

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October 12, 2011 02:22
2 minute read.
MAHMOUD ABBAS

Abbas R 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Even if Israel accepts the Palestinian Authority’s conditions for resuming peace talks, the PA won’t withdraw its application to the UN for full membership of a Palestinian state on all the territories captured in 1967, President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Tuesday as saying.

Abbas has meanwhile rejected Colombia’s offer to mediate between the PA and Israel to pave the way for the resumption of the peace process.

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Colombia is opposed to the statehood bid and supports the resumption of direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, a PA official in Ramallah pointed out.

Abbas thanked Colombia for its offer, but demanded “sufficient guarantees” before the negotiations are resumed, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said.

Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin had proposed mediating between the two sides during a meeting with Abbas in Bogota on Monday.

But Malki said that the Palestinians “don’t want to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. We have been negotiating for 20 years in an empty peace process that has gotten us nowhere.”

Abbas arrived in Colombia earlier this week to seek the country’s support of the Palestinians’ request for full membership in the UN.

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On Tuesday, he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to urge him to vote in favor of the statehood bid. Colombia is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

In the context of his efforts to seek support for the statehood bid, Abbas is also scheduled to visit France, which is also a member of the Security Council.

Addressing representatives of the 40,000-strong Palestinian community in Colombia, Abbas called on Israel to recognize a Palestinian state, saying this was in the interest of Israel “so that we could live alongside each other in security and stability.”

Abbas said that the Palestinian right to statehood is 60 years old, “but the circumstances were then very difficult for us.” The Palestinians are now seeking to achieve this right through the UN, Abbas added.

He noted that 130 countries have so far recognized the Palestinian state, and more countries are expected to follow suit.

“We are determined to end our difference with Israel and achieve peace through negotiations,” Abbas declared.

“But Israel must recognize us as a people who have the right to a state and it also must stop all its settlement activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

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