Palestine presses for statehood
Abbas seeks full UN membership, says not trying to isolate Israel
V S CHANDRASEKAR/YOSHITA SINGH
United Nations, Sept 24: Unfazed by US-Israel opposition, Palestine Saturday staked its claim to become a full member of the United Nations in its long quest for statehood and sought a positive vote on its bid from the world body, a plea India fully supports.
Just before he addressed the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly this morning, Palestine Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and submitted an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of June 4, 1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital as a full member of the UN. "I call upon Mr Secretary General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security Council and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership. I also appeal to the States that have yet not recognised the State of Palestine to do so," he said in his address to the UN General Assembly.
Abbas said he was ready to return to the negotiating table with Israel saying Palestine's efforts were not aimed at isolating or deligitimising Israel.
The application for Statehood for Palestine comes despite efforts by the US to dissuade Chairman Abbas from going ahead with his proclaimed plans.
Seeking international recognition, Abbas said the support of the countries of the world for their endeavour would be a victory for truth, freedom, justice, law and international legitimacy.
"It provides tremendous support for the peace option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations," he said in his speech.
In his letter to Abbas, Prime Minister Singh assured him of India's "full support" for his country's bid for statehood at the UN. "India has always supported the Palestinian people in their pursuit of legitimate goals and for development with dignity and self reliance. I assure you of India's full support in the United Nations," Singh wrote.
Abbas underlined in his UN speech that the Palestinians only wanted to end Israel's settlement policy which he said will "destroy chances" of a two-state solution to the conflict.
"This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence," he underlined in his speech.
But he maintained previous peace talks were "smashed against the rocks of the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September."
The Palestinian leader won huge applause and a standing ovation from some of the assembly as he entered the hall shortly after asking the UN to admit the state of Palestine.
Amid warm welcome by many countries, the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice sat stony-faced during the landmark speech of Abbas. The application for statehood for Palestine comes despite efforts by the US to dissuade Chairman Abbas from going ahead with his proclaimed plans.
US President Barack Obama had in his speech at the UNGA earlier this week virtually dismissed the Palestine demand saying a solution to the Palestine issue will not come through UN resolutions but through discussions.
The fate of the resolution depends on whether Washington will use its veto but India has made it clear that it will fully back the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
India was among the first non-Arab states to recognise Palestine Liberation Organisation and its aspirations to statehood. Recently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written a letter to
Abbas extending India's solidarity with the Palestinian people and the decision to support a resolution for creation of Palestine state in the UN when it comes up.
"India has always supported the Palestinian people in their pursuit of legitimate goals and for development with dignity and self reliance. I assure you of India's full support in the United
Nations," Singh wrote on Tuesday.
'India's position well established'
New York, Sep 24: India Saturday made it clear that its position on the statehood for Palestinians was well established and there is no change in it.
"Our position on Palestine issue is well established and well known. As far back as 1988 we recognised Palestine state and there is no change in it," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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