UN envoy hints failure to strike peace deal would spell end for PA

UN's representative to the peace process says he believes a final status agreement can be reached within 6-9 months.

Tzipi Livni and UN envoy Robert Serry 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Tzipi Livni and UN envoy Robert Serry 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
The United Nations' representative to the recently resumed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority suggested in a radio interview on Sunday that failure to clinch an agreement that would pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state would lead to the disintegration of the interim government in Ramallah.
In remarks broadcast on Israel Radio, Robert Serry said that the urgency of the hour gives him hope that both sides will approach this latest round of negotiations with greater willingness to make progress.
"There is a growing realization on both sides that it is important for them to make meaningful progress and to make these talks not just another round of talks," Serry told Israel Radio.
"I think it is also a time for both sides to make tough decisions," he said. "If there is a willingness to do this, then I believe this goal [of a final status agreement] can be reached within six to nine months."
Nonetheless, Serry warned that yet another collapse of the peace process would cast a heavy pall over the political future of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
"President Abbas has already been, for a long time, the leader of what is considered to be the more moderate wing of the Palestinian movement which is committed to a two-state solution," Serry told Israel Radio. "Another failure will have consequences for him."
"But the very reason that in my view the consequences for both sides will be pretty serious if this fails again gives me hope that they will be serious in this US-led effort to return to meaningful negotiations."
The 63-year-old Dutch diplomat says that peace is all the more imperative since the current governmental infrastructure that has taken root in the West Bank will no longer have legitimacy if it is not seen as a way station toward a Palestinian state. "If this state-building remains without a credible political horizon, that cannot just continue endlessly, and that is why the resumption of talks at this point is so important," he said.
"These institutions have been built up. If their ultimate meaning, which is to be the foundation stones of a Palestinian state, becomes a total illusion, then we should not take their continued existence for granted. It should be clear to anyone."