Abbas wants more than US “slogans” on statehood
Ramallah, West Bank, Nov 12: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said US support for Palestinian statehood had yet to move beyond “slogans.”
Abbas said views in the United States and Europe had started to shift in favor of the Palestinians but expressed frustration at recent US opposition to the idea of taking the quest for statehood to the UN Security Council.
“The world has started to change. Europe has started to change and America has started to change,” said Abbas, whose administration depends on political and financial backing from the United States and the European Union.
“True, it is still at the stage of slogans, such as ‘We support the two-state solution’ and ‘the establishment of a Palestinian state is in the vital national security interest of the United States’,” he added in a speech to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat.
US-backed peace talks aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state stalled in September due to a dispute over Jewish settlement construction on Israeli-occupied land.
The talks had started just a few weeks earlier. Abbas reiterated his opposition to their resumption until Israel halts all settlement building on the land where the Palestinians aim to found their state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far resisted international calls freeze on settlement construction. Restrictions he had imposed for 10 months on West Bank settlement building expired in late September. His cabinet is dominated by parties which support the settlers, including his own Likud.
Abbas, while reiterating his commitment to negotiations, has said the Palestinians are studying alternatives to the two-decade “peace process” if it fails.
One idea is to go to the UN Security Council to secure international recognition for a Palestinian state. The United States, Abbas said, had described such a move as a unilateral action — a view echoed in Israel.
“We are thinking about this (idea), we didn’t begin yet, (but) this is considered a unilateral step,” Abbas said. “They (the Israelis) are undertaking unilateral actions every day,” he added. He listed settlement expansion among his complaints.
The United States has said both sides must avoid unilateral actions that prevent the bilateral negotiations which it says are the only path toward resolving the conflict.
Abbas said Obama was still trying to advance peace talks. “We still have hope and there is still a chance,” he said.
Obama, in an address to the UN General Assembly in September, said success could lead to an agreement that would allow a sovereign state of Palestine to join the United Nations next year. The remark was widely covered by Arab media.
Abbas, talking about Oba ma’s remark, said: “I hope this is not just a slogan and when the time comes he says ‘We are sorry we could not (do it). Leave it for next year.’
“All the while you said this in the United Nations, this is a promise and a debt around your neck and it must be realized so that Palestine becomes a full member state of the United Nations,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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