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EU Still 'Undecided' on PA Statehood Bid at UN

It appears the EU is still split over voting on the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/1/2011, 6:54 PM

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is holding her cards close to her chest on the question of whether the bloc will support the Palestinian Authority in its question for United Nations recognition as a new country in three weeks.

Ashton told the Associated Press Thursday that the EU is still undecided on whether to back the PA's bid for statehood and membership in the U.N. General Assembly. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been pushing for the EU to come to an agreement on the issue as soon as possible, and to speak with "one voice."

But, she added, the question had not yet been discussed by the EU's member nations because the resolution dealing with the question had not yet been tabled for the upcoming U.N. General Assembly.

The one issue on which the EU bloc is united, Ashton made clear, is the need to find a way to continue negotiations between Israel and the PA, even though that seems unlikely.

“We need to find a way to create a two-state solution, a secure, stable Israel living side by side with a secure, stable Palestinian state,” Ashton said after meeting with UNRWA head Filippo Grandi. Some 4.7 million PA Arabs, third generation "refugees" for the most part, receive ongoing aid from the U.N. aid agency instead of being absorbed in the Arab countries they have been in all these years. .

Thus far it appears that Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are likely to vote in favor of recognition of the PA as a country, according to a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.