Abbas refuses int'l requests to postpone UN bid

PA president turns down US, European requests to delay upgraded statehood bid; officials hope Gaza op will increase supporters.

November 24, 2012 18:05
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN 370 (R). (photo credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has turned down requests from the US, France, Germany and Britain to postpone his plan to ask the UN this week to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state to non-member observer, PA officials in Ramallah revealed.

The officials told the PA's official mouthpiece, Al-Ayyam, that Abbas was determined to pursue his statehood bid despite the requests.

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The officials expressed hope that the recent IDF operation in the Gaza Strip would increase the number of countries that would vote in favor of upgrading the status of a Palestinian state.

Hana Amireh, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the statehood bid has become "very urgent" after the IDF offensive "because it mobilized widespread support for the Palestinians." Chief PLO negotiator told the Ramallah-based newspaper that the decision to go to the UN on November 29 was "irreversible."

Abbas told the foreign ministers of the US, France, Germany and Britain that he's going to the UN, a PA official stressed. The PA is nevertheless expecting most EU countries to abstain during the vote on the statehood bid.

Some EU countries will decide how to vote only in the last minute, PA officials said.

PA attempts to persuade EU countries to vote in favor of the statehood bid will continue in the coming days, they added.

Over the weekend, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said he tried to persuade his Italian counterpart to support the statehood bid at the UN during a meeting in Rome.

Malki did not say whether he had succeeded in his effort.

Abbas, meanwhile, expressed hope that US President Barack Obama would fulfill his vision for a two-state solution as he had stated in his 2009 Cairo speech.

"President Obama is in his second term in office and we hope that he will stand with peace," Abbas told Palestinian high school students during a meeting in his office. "This could be the last chance for achieving peace and stability." Abbas reiterated his readiness to resume peace talks with Israel, but only after obtaining the status of non-member observer in the UN.

"There is nothing that stops us from obtaining the status of non-member observer," he added. "That's why we will file the application on November 29 with a request for voting on it. We are sure that the countries of the free world would vote with us."

Former US President Jimmy Carter on Friday phoned Abbas to voice his support for the statehood bid, the PA president's office said in a statement.

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