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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AP
 
 

US urges EU against backing PA bid

Washington said to be applying considerable pressure on bloc's governments against supporting Palestinian status bid at UN; internal memo warns of 'significant negative consequences' if bid succeeds

Ynet
Published: 10.02.12, 07:04 / Israel News

The United States is reportedly applying considerable diplomatic pressure on European Union governments, urging them against supporting the Palestinian Authority's new UN status upgrade bid.

 

According to a Tuesday report in The Guardian, Washington has warned the bloc's member-nations against supporting the PA's bid, saying such a move "would be extremely counterproductive" and threatening "significant negative consequences" for the Palestinian Authority, including financial sanctions.

 

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The report, based on an internal administration memorandum, said that the US' position is that "Palestinian statehood can only be achieved via direct negotiations with the Israelis."

 

The memo further advised the EU to support Washington's efforts to block the Palestinian bid.

 

Two-state solution still viable

According to the British newspaper, the memorandum, described "private correspondence," said that Washington was "continuing to work for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," and urged both parties "to avoid provocative one-sided actions that could undermine trust or otherwise distract from the pursuit of peace."

 

The US further warned that upgrading the PA's UN status "would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority."

 


הווטו האמריקני על הפנייה הפלסטינית במועצת הביטחון בשנה שעברה (צילום: AFP)

UN Security Council (Photo: AFP)

 

The memo notes: "We believe your government understands what is at stake here, and – like us – wants to avoid a collision at the coming UNGA session.

 

"We hope you are willing to support our efforts… We would appreciate knowing where your government stands on this issue. We would also be interested in knowing whether you have been approached on this matter by Palestinian representatives."

 

According to The Guardian, EU officials received the communiqué while attending the UN General Assembly in New York City, last week.

 

The report added that PA officials have accused the American administration of exerting "tremendous pressure" on EU government to oppose the new bid.

 

Unlike 2011's fail statehood bid, the upcoming bid will see Ramallah vie for an upgraded "non-member state" status at the General Assembly.

 

Palestinian sources expressed confidence that such a bid would have a "comfortable majority" among the UN's 193 members. Unlike in the UN Security Council, the United States has no veto power over General Assembly votes.

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that his will stay presenting the bid until after the US presidential election.

 

Typical American behavior'

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi told The Guardian that the communiqué was "Typical American behavior but also overkill.

 

"It is ridiculous and unconscionable the way they put themselves at the service of Israel in such a blatant way. This is tremendous American pressure and bias."

 

Ashwari told the newspaper that in her opinion, most EU nations have already decided their position on the matter: "I don't think the US will make countries change their minds."

 

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat added that the memo may reflect the US' position, but added that he hoped that "the Europeans will follow their interests and choose peace over settlements."

 

A European diplomatic source was quoted by the UK paper as saying that "The US has made it very clear to all of us that they oppose to any Palestinian move at the UN."

 

Some European countries are alarmed at the prospect of the US withdrawing financial support for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of a bid for upgraded status, fearing that the EU would have to fill the funding gap.

 

 

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