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      Bolton: PA Statehood Bid Means "Next to Nothing"

      Former US envoy to the UN John Bolton says the PA statehood bid in September means 'next to nothing' without a peace agreement with Israel.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 7/15/2011, 2:53 PM / Last Update: 7/15/2011, 3:36 PM

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      Former United States envoy to the United Nations John Bolted said the PA statehood bid at the UN in September means "next to nothing" without a peace agreement with Israel, The Associated Press reported Friday.

      Bolton, who served as President George W. Bush's envoy to the UN, said the General Assembly is certain to support the PA bid due to the 'automatic majority' the Arab League and its factional allies can call to arms but added it will be meaningless without approval in the Security Council, where it faces a US veto.

      Visiting Israel on Friday, Bolton said Israel and the U.S. should "not to take it so seriously."

      "You don't want to invest authority and legitimacy in something that doesn't have authority and legitimacy," Bolton said. The significance of the move, "as a practical matter, is next to nothing," he said.

      Despite US opposition and the specter of a US veto in the security council, the PA plans to seek UN recognition in September after two years of recalcitrant refusal to attend peace talks without preconditions that would prejudice the outcome.

      The initiative was officially endorsed Thursday by the Arab League, who announced they would submit the PA bid to the world body.

      The US and Israel say a Mideast peace deal and PA statehood should come about only through the bilateral framework of the Oslo Accords, which are what allow the PA to exist in the first place.

      Israel's leaders have initiated a diplomatic full-court press to create a "moral minority" of key states to dampen media gains the PA hopes to gain from staging the bid in spite of a prospective US veto.

      Bolton is in Israel along with other members of the Friends of Israel Initiative, a group founded last year by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.