EU says up to Palestinians to decide UN ‘approach’

AMMAN — EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday it is up to the Palestinians to decide their approach at the United Nations, where they will seek full UN membership next month.

Ashton, on a tour to push Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations, said she “talked to both sides about a range of possibilities and there is not yet a resolution of any kind on the table for September.”

“It is for the Palestinians to decide themselves the approach they want to take at the UN,” Ashton told a joint news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Amman before meeting King Abdullah II.

“They will do so in dialogue I am sure with colleagues from Arab countries and in full knowledge of the implications for the rest of us.”

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday that UN membership would change the “legal formula” of Palestinian situation.

“An international recognition of our state based on the 1967 borders will make it a state under occupation. It will change the legal formula of our situation,” he told Jordan’s Al-Dustur daily and Qatar’s Al-Watan in a joint interview.

“The UN will be our reference. Israel of course will continue its pressure to prevent us from growing.”

Ashton said: “I would hope to see something that the European Union is able to support… if you take the decision to go forward and that you are guided by what will happen afterwards…”

She has said the EU position would depend on the wording of the Palestinian proposal to be presented to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on September 20.

Palestinians expect “more than 150 countries” of the 192 UN member states to endorse their membership, although Europe is still divided over the bid.

Ashton arrived in the region on Saturday for a three-day visit aimed at pushing Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks, which have been on hold since last September in an intractable dispute over Jewish settlement building.

“I believe it is a time of change with what we are seeing in the neighbourhood, the events in Syria and what is happening in Libya,” she said, referring to pro-democracy uprisings.

“It is even more important to deal with this issue and get the current leaderships (Israeli and Palestinian) to see their responsibilities lie in finding a peaceful solution for their people.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 29.08.2011)

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