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PA Denies Split with Jordan on UN Statehood Bid

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denies a split with Jordan on the upcoming UN statehood bid. German official meets in Ramallah.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/11/2011, 11:23 AM

Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II
Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is denying a split with Jordan over the upcoming bid for PA statehood and membership at the United Nations General Assembly.

The U.N. opens the General Assembly on September 20, with Abbas scheduled to address the gathering on September 22, the last day of the first of two sessions.

Abbas told the Jordanian al-Rai newspaper on Sunday that the PA and the Hashemite Kingdom had "fully coordinated" their positions on the PA's bid for recognition by the U.N. as a new Arab country.

However, Abdullah has repeatedly advised Abbas to reconsider his insistence on pushing for recognition of statehood at the United Nations. Most recently Abdullah was more direct about the matter, allowing a leak two weeks ago in the Saudi Arabian newspaper, Al-Madina that he had consulted legal authorities who warned the statehood bid could jeopardize the "right of return" for millions of PA Arabs and their descendants trying to move into Israeli territory.

The issue is of direct concern to the Hashemite Kingdom, where more than 60 percent of the population is comprised of disenfranchised PA Arabs, ruled by Abdullah's tribal Bedouin government. Abdullah and many of the elite Jordanians have often expressed "support" for the "return" of their PA Arab population to lands across the border. 

Also on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is scheduled to meet with the Abbas on the issue at PA headquarters in Ramallah.

Germany has stood firm on its opposition to the PA's intent, determined instead to support a final status agreement negotiated between the entity and Israel through direct talks, as agreed upon in the 1993 Oslo Accords.