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      Romania Opposes PA Statehood Bid

      Romanian prime minister Emil Boc says his nation will oppose the PA bid for statehood at the UN during Netanyahu visit.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 7/6/2011, 5:41 PM / Last Update: 7/6/2011, 7:11 PM

      Moshe Milner/GPO

      Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc said Wednesday his nation opposed the Palestinian Authority's bid for a unilateral declaration of statehood based on 1967-lines at the United Nations in September, Romania's Mediafax news service reported.

      Boc made his opposition to PA unilateralism clear after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who is the first Israeli head of state to visit Romania in 20 years.
       
      "Romania believes in a two-state solution reached through negotiations, not through unilateral Palestinian actions," Boc said following his meeting with Netanyahu.
       
      Boc's decision to oppose the PA statehood bid in the UN as Israeli diplomats make a full court press to achieve a "critical minority" of "key states" against the move in order to force the PA to return to the negotiating table has surprised some observers.
       
      Romania, along with several other former 'Eastern Bloc' states, recognized 'Palestine' in 1988, leaving its position unclear in the wake of the Iron Curtain's collapse the following year. 
       
      Romania a Model
       
      During the press conference Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted the importance of democracy being instituted in the Middle East and said Romania was a model to look to, having emerged from the Iron Curtain as an example of freedom and prosperity.
       
      "In Romania, we know that you have had plenty of your own problems, but your success, freedom did not come without a price to pay," Netanyahu said in a joint press conference with Boc. "A higher kind of life can not come without freedom, and the peoples of the Middle East should look to you and where you came from. I think you can be a model for the Middle East... for a dignified way forward."
       
      Netanyahu's visit also included discussions on expanding Israeli-Romanian political and economic relations, which analysts say may have been critical to securing Romanian support.
       
      "We have little space, you have more, we have some water, you have plenty of water. We believe that the Israelis... Israeli consumers... would benefit from greater competition and we are willing to cooperate on agriculture, to your advantage, but also to our advantage," Netanyahu told reporters after answering several questions about Israel's recent 'cottage cheese controversy.' 
       
      "Competition brings lower prices and better service. And we will discuss these opportunities... Romania is at a distance of two hours and we want to encourage producers to bring Romanian market Israeli products," Netanyahu said.
       
      Romanian Support Symbolic
       
      Romanian support is, however, largely symbolic. While the PA claims to have 100 states supporting its bid for statehood at the UN, the issue can only be brought to a vote at the request of the Security Council. 
       
      The United States, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, has already indicated it will exercise its veto on the PA bid, rendering Israel's quest for its own bloc of supporters a matter of managing perceptions in its ongoing media-war with the PA, according to analysts.
       
      The Security Council indicated Wednesday it may discuss what it terms the 'options for the Palestinian side,' in late July.
       
      Also Wendesday, Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman indicated Israel's policy towards unilateral moves by the PA would be 'An diplomatic eye for an eye.'