Palestinian envoys clash with Washington over UN state bid

Saeb Erekat, Nabil Abu Rudaineh hold talks with US gov't officials on statehood request; Erekat: US made it clear it would veto resolution.

erekat raise the roof REUTERS 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
erekat raise the roof REUTERS 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Signs of tensions between the Palestinian Authority and the US surfaced over the weekend following a visit to Washington by two senior Palestinian envoys, Saeb Erekat and Nabil Abu Rudaineh.
The two men went to Washington last week for talks with US government officials on the PA’s intention to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
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Erekat said upon his arrival in Amman that the talks in Washington did not produce any results.
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The US administration once again made it clear that it would veto the statehood bid at the UN, he said.
“They informed us that they would use the veto if we go to the Security Council,” Erekat said. “They also told us that Congress would vote in favor of cutting off financial aid to the PA if it proceeds with its plan to go to the UN.”
Erekat and Abu Rudaineh held talks in Washington with David Hale, US special envoy for Middle East peace, and Dennis Ross, special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Erekat blasted the House of Representatives and the Senate for threatening to cut off financial aid to the Palestinians as “unacceptable and unjustified.”
Despite the threats, the PA would pursue its efforts to become a member of the UN, he said. “Political, legal and moral criteria demand that we continue with our efforts,” Erekat told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
The US administration was now waiting to see what the Quartet members decide during their meeting on Monday, Erekat added. The Quartet representatives are scheduled to discuss the PA’s plan for statehood and ways of reviving the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, also condemned threats to cut off financial aid to the Palestinians. The threats were a betrayal of all the values the Americans are talking about with regards to freedom and human rights, he said.
“The Palestinian Authority will not succumb to this irresponsible stance of the US lawmakers,” Hammad said.
“We will proceed with our efforts to achieve a state in September and we won’t backtrack.”
PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said the Palestinians were leading a “real battle” ahead of September to rally as many countries as possible in favor of the statehood bid. In this battle, the Palestinians would emerge victorious, he said.
Sha’ath pointed out that 115 countries had already recognized the Palestinian state, while another 20 were expected to follow suit before September.
He too criticized the US administration for pressuring the PA leadership to refrain from going to the UN.