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PLO Confirms: Abbas to Apply for PA Statehood on Friday

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "will apply for membership of a Palestinian state in the UN Security Council as scheduled on Friday."
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/22/2011, 2:17 PM

Yasser Abed Rabbo
Yasser Abed Rabbo
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appears to have no choice but to move ahead with the entity's bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations Security Council – whether he personally really wants to or not.

PLO Executive Committee secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo said that Abbas “will apply for membership of a Palestinian state in the United Nations Security Council as scheduled on Friday.”

He denied in an interview with Voice of Palestine radio that there were any arrangements made for Abbas to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “as stated by some media.”

Abed Rabbo added that “the Palestinian position has not, and will not change,” the PA's semi-official WAFA news agency reported.

The PLO official also said there has been no agreement to give the Security Council more time to discuss the matter, other than the normal legal period in which such deliberations are usually conducted.

Abed Rabbo was referring to a plan being promoted by Western nations that would involve Abbas filing  a letter of intent to file for statehood, but then delaying the formal request and agreeing to return to direct talks with Israel. 

It was hoped that Abbas would accept this plan, thereby avoiding the possibility that the United States would have to veto the resolution in the Security Council.

Equally embarrassing for Abbas might be the prospect of losing the vote altogether. Such a scenario is also a possibility, as the PA may lack enough support to push the bid through the Security Council, even without considering the already-promised U.S. veto.

“Abbas insisted that the Palestinian bid to the U.N. does not contraindicate serious negotiations with Israel,” he added.

Abed Rabbo said the PLO team is working non-stop in order to gain the support of countries that have said they will either vote against the bid, or abstain.

“This battle for the recognition of a Palestinian state is crucial and ongoing,” he said, adding that the team hoped 150 countries would cast their ballots in favor of the PA's demand for recognition as a sovereign nation, and full membership in their ranks.

The PLO official also denied that any statement was likely to be released by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations on Friday.