PA's Erekat mulls international mandate option
As Palestinians threaten to turn to US for unilateral recognition of independent state should talks fail to halt settlement construction, chief Palestinian negotiator takes plan one step further: 'Should this fail, we'll consider turning to UN to check possibility of imposing international mandate on territories'
The Palestinians are not ruling out an option to turn to the UN's Security Council and General Assembly to check the possibility of imposing an international mandate on the Palestinian territories, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday.
Repeating calls in the Palestinian camp, Erekat said that should peace talks with Israel fail to secure a halt in settlement construction, the Palestinians will consider turning to the United States for a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.
The Palestinian negotiator went further by saying that should the US option prove unsuccessful, the Palestinians will consider asking UN member states to recognize an independent Palestinian state. "We shall consider turning to the UN's General Assembly under the assembly's 67th clause to check the possibility of imposing an international mandate over the territories."
Will the US recognize a Palestinian state? Abbas and Hillary Clinton (Photo: AP)
Erekat explained that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas presented Arab leaders with the various options available for the Palestinians during the Arab League summit over the weekend and added that additional options will also be explored.
In this context, the Palestinians are pointing to a recent statement by the Quartet suggesting that the Palestinians are ready to declare an independent state at any given moment in light of the great progress that the Palestinian Authority has achieved in the past year in building institutions.
Barak meets European FMs
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday as part of their efforts to reignite direct talks. "I hope we shall make it through the difficulties and that direct negotiations will be resumed," Barak told the two. Kouchner mentioned that all parties support the establishment of a Palestinian state and that the world is waiting for the difficulties to be resolved.
Also Sunday, Jordan's King Abdullah met with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and told him that the month-long continuance given by the Arab League to the US to reignite peace talks was a great opportunity which binds all parties. The king added that peace talks may be the only assurance for Middle East stability.
Ben-Eliezer said that the government of Israel is putting great efforts into resuming talks as soon as possible.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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