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UN Confirms it Received PA's Applications

UN's special envoy on Mideast peace confirms he received requests from PA officials to join 13 international conventions and treaties.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/3/2014, 4:14 AM

Robert Serry
Robert Serry
Reuters

The UN's special envoy on Mideast peace, Robert Serry, confirmed on Wednesday that he has received requests from Palestinian Authority (PA) officials to join 13 international conventions and treaties, according to AFP.

The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture, and the one against corruption.

Once these applications have been officially received at the UN headquarters, "we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriate next steps," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary general, according to AFP.

The unilateral move by the PA effectively torpedoes the peace talks, which started in July and were set to continue until April 29, and which have been stalling of late amid PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's consistent refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

The PA has blamed Israel for the talks failing, citing its refusal to release the fourth batch of terrorists it agreed to release as a “gesture” to Abbas.

"We hope a way can be found to see the negotiations through," UN spokesman Haq said, noting that Serry had met with chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni. Earlier it was reported that Livni, Erekat and American mediator Martin Indyk were meeting in a bid to keep the talks going.

Envoys from the "quartet" -- the U.S., EU, UN, and Russia -- also spoke by telephone, he said.

The PA’s envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said the requests were "a formality" and that  their membership in the treaties would come into effect "30 days after the Secretary General receives the letter of accession."

He also insisted that the PA’s move was within its legal rights.

"What we did is legal," said Mansour, AFP reported, adding that "it is our right" to join UN treaties and agencies, since the PA obtained the status of an observer state in November 2012.

The Palestinian Authority has also asked Switzerland if it can join the Fourth Geneva Convention from August 1949 and the first additional protocol. And it has asked the Netherlands if it can join the Hague Convention of 1907 on laws and customs governing war, the report said.

"Our inclusion in the Geneva convention will be effective immediately because we are under occupation," Mansour claimed, adding that these applications are just a first wave, with more coming depending on "the interest of the Palestinian people" as well as "the behavior of Israel."