Palestinians seek UN membership, not recognition of statehood: official

14:23, May 25, 2011      

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The Palestinian decision to resort to the United Nations General Assembly in September aims at getting a UN membership rather than a recognition of its statehood, a Palestinian official said Tuesday.

"We are not going there for a unilateral declaration of the Palestinian state," said Saeb Erekat, former chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

"We declared our state in 1988 and we have embassies in more than 130 countries and more countries are recognizing our state on the 1967 borders," Erekat told Xinhua.

"The recognition of the Palestinian state is a sovereignty decision by the countries and it doesn't need to happen through the UN," he explained.

Erekat's comments came at odds with numerous statements released earlier by many Palestinian officials, which said that the Palestinians are going to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.

The decision to go to the UN was taken after the U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed last year. The Palestinians walked out of the negotiations to protest Israel's decision to resume construction of the West Bank settlements.

Israel and the United States consider the Palestinian drive to win the UN recognition as a unilateral step.

In his recent speeches, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations. He was the first U.S. president to call for making the 1967 lines as the basis of the talks with mutually agreed land swaps.

Obama said attempts to isolate Israel will fail, hinting at the Palestinian plans to seek the UN recognition.

Source: Xinhua
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