'Qatar Backs PA's UN Bid for Statehood,' Says Chief Negotiator

September 04, 2011 - 12:46:08 pm

DOHA: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member, Dr. Saeb Erekat on Sunday highly appreciated the efforts being exerted by the State of Qatar and its people to best serve the Palestinian cause and defend the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s bid for UN recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state within pre-1967 borders.

The State of Qatar has arranged a meeting in London between the PA and a number of international lawyers sponsored by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Palestinian Chief Negotiator told Qatar News Agency (QNA).

While HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani has sent a written message to the 72 countries that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine, urging them to recognize the Palestinian people's right to independent state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, said Erekat.

The Qatari effort complements and sustains the efforts of Arab states aimed at backing PA's UN bid for statehood, he continued, referring the Arab Peace Initiative Committee, chaired by Qatar, which is able to speak with one voice to defend the Palestinian cause.

On the European talks to find out a common position on Palestinian Statehood question in UN, Dr. Erekat said EU's support for the PA's UN bid would promote a viable Middle East peace process on the basis of the two-state solution.

Israel's government is responsible for the collapse of the peace process and negotiations, Erekat said, noting the continued building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government continues its efforts to maintain the status quo through occupation, the PLO official added.

In order to seek support for the Palestinian plan to seek full membership in the UN this month, an Arab delegation comprising the State of Qatar and the Arab League Secretary General is scheduled to head to Europe for talks with a number of the EU member states, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton and the United Kingdom, he added.

In a related context, Dr. Erekat reaffirmed the PA's rejection of the European proposal suggesting an observer status in the UN for the Palestinian state like the Vatican.

PA is attempting to exercise pressure on the American administration to reconsider its position in favor of the Palestinian bid in an attempt to discourage the United States to veto the PA)'s bid at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

To demonstrate the importance of diplomatic efforts in this regard, the Palestinian official noted with appreciation President Mahmoud Abbas's tour on a large number of countries on campaign For UN recognition.

Some 125 of the world body's 193 member states have announced their recognition of Palestine as an independent state, he said.

On the importance of implementing national reconciliation before heading to the UN, Dr. Erekat said both Hamas and Fatah aim to liberate the Palestinian people from Israeli occupation, calling for prevailing Palestine's higher interest over private interests.

"We are partners in the struggle for freedom" said Erekat, pointing to the collective responsibility to put Palestine "back on the map."

On the UN Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara attack, Dr. Erekat reiterated PA 's condemnation over this political document, which is not based on international law.

The UN report accused Israel of acting with "excessive force" in raiding the six-ship flotilla as it tried to sail to Gaza in breach of an Israeli blockade in May, 2010. (QNA)