Erekat: PA Will Go to UN Despite Pressure

PLO top negotiator: The PA will push on with a bid to achieve non-member status at the United Nations despite pressure to back down.

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Elad Benari,

Saeb Erakat
Saeb Erakat

The Palestinian Authority will push on with a bid to achieve non-member status at the United Nations despite pressure to back down, PLO top negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday, according to AFP.

"No matter what pressure we are facing... we will not go back on our decision," Erakat said in Amman after talks between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

"We tell the countries that are trying to undermine our action that we are not seeking a confrontation with America or to isolate Israel, but to isolate Israeli occupation and settlements, and to affirm the principle of the two states," he told reporters, according to AFP.

He said that Abbas and Arabi discussed the UN bid and agreed on a number of legal and diplomatic measures related to the move.

Arabi, meanwhile, said Arab League ministers would meet at their Cairo headquarters on November 12 to discuss the bid and would be joined the next day by representatives of the 27-member European Union for more talks.

"It is time for Palestine to obtain such recognition at the United Nations," said Arabi, according to AFP.

Abbas formally announced in September that the PA would ask the General Assembly to grant it "super-observer" status that could give it access to UN institutions and agencies. PLO officials confirmed that the PA plans to submit its request after Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.

AFP reported that Abbas has said he will table the resolution on either November 15 or 29.

Channel 10 News reported on Monday that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened that if the PA goes ahead with its unilateral statehood bid he “will work to ensure the PA will collapse.”

Lieberman reportedly stressed that a unilateral statehood bid by the PA will "put an end to the chances to resume peace negotiations."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he remains ready to sit down for final status talks with the PA leader.

"Only in direct negotiations will it be possible to clarify what the true positions are. Generally, I can say that if Abu Mazen is really serious and intends to advance peace, as far as I am concerned, we can sit together immediately. Jerusalem and Ramallah are only seven minutes apart; I am ready to start negotiations today,” Netanyahu said bluntly.

"I will take this opportunity to again call on President Abbas to return to the negotiating table without preconditions, because peace may be advanced only around the negotiating table and not via unilateral decisions in the United Nations General Assembly, which will only push peace further away and will only lead to instability.”