Abbas to Ban: We'll submit application for UN membership

Secretary-general stresses need for Israel, Palestinian Authority to go back to negotiating table.

September 19, 2011 19:36
2 minute read.
Abbas, Ban Ki-moon

Abbas, Ban Ki-moon_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his intention to submit on Friday an application for membership in the UN, a spokesman for the secretary-general said.

Ban informed Abbas of his intention to “perform his duties under the UN Charter and reiterated his support for the two-state solution,” the spokesman said.

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The UN secretary-general also stressed his desire to ensure that the international community and the two parties can find a way forward for resuming negotiations within a legitimate and balanced framework, the spokesman added.

Ban and Abbas also discussed the ongoing efforts by the Quartet to resume the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The spokesman quoted Abbas as telling the secretary-general that he was committed to a negotiated solution with Israel.

Abbas, meanwhile, called on Israel to recognize a Palestinian state, the PA’s official news agency Wafa said.

Abbas made the call shortly before landing in New York.

He urged Israel “not to waste the chance for peace on the basis of a two-state solution,” the agency reported.

Abbas told reporters en route to New York that “all hell has broken out” over the statehood bid.

He was referring to immense pressure on him from the US and the Quartet to refrain from submitting an application for Palestinian membership in the UN.

Abbas predicted that “matters will be bad” after he submits the application.

However, he emphasized that there would be no return to an “armed intifada” or any form of violence against Israel.

“We will only carry out peaceful protests,” he said.

Abbas said a majority of Israelis “want peace and support peace.” He added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu represents the Israeli people and when the negotiations are resumed they will be with him.

A senior aide to Abbas dismissed Netanyahu’s assertion that the PA statehood bid was doomed to failure.

“These are ridiculous statements,” the official said. “Netanyahu is searching for a way out of... isolation in the international arena.”

The official said Abbas was in “high spirits” despite attempts to dissuade him from proceeding with the statehood plan.

Hanna Amireh, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, disclosed that the US administration had threatened to cut off financial aid to the PA if Abbas insisted on seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

Amireh said that in wake of the US “threats,” Abbas has asked Arab countries to compensate the Palestinians for the loss of US aid.

Nimer Hammad, a political adviser to Abbas, said the PA had reached the conclusion that there was no point in pursuing the peace talks with the Netanyahu government. He said Netanyahu’s refusal to accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution was one of the main reasons behind the decision to seek UN membership for a Palestinian state.

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