|Palestine Donors'' meeting was not meant to boost UN membership - Norway Politics |
| [19.09.2011, 11:12am, Mon. GMT]|
|The praise the Palestinian Authority won late Sunday during a meeting of the donors' support group on Palestine about its remarkable economic performance and readiness for statehood was not meant to boost Palestine's bid for full UN membership, a Norwegian diplomat told reporters.Those are two separate issues, the diplomat said. "This meeting was scheduled months ago. A similar meeting was held last year and another one will probably be held next year," he said, adding that it is pure coincidence.|
Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store who chaired the meeting was quoted as telling the meeting that the Palestinian Authority's efforts to "build robust state institutions and revive the Palestinian economy stand out as a remarkable international success story.
" He later told reporters that there is consensus among the donors that the Palestinian Authority is doing a remarkable job, and that "today we have reconfirmed, based on the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations that this progress is still solid," adding that "it's now crucial to safeguard these achievements and the progress made so far."
A Palestinian diplomat also confirmed to reporters that most participants praised the Palestinian Authority for its remarkable performance and readiness for statehood. The participants in the meeting included Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace process, European Union foreign policy Chief Lady Ashton, Middle East Quarter Envoy Tony Blair, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayadh, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and US and Russian representatives.
Representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund also participated.
Serry said in a report issued last week that the PA has "accomplished the tasks it set out to achieve two years ago to prepare its institutions for the responsibilities of statehood, but there remains a widening gap between that progress and the stagnant political process." "This is a considerable achievement which should be recognized, preserved, and built upon," the UN report, entitled "Palestinian State Building: An achievement at risk," said.
Ayalon, however, told the donors' meeting that Israel is interested in continuing to assist Palestinian economic development, but this position could be affected if the Palestinians unilaterally declare a state.
"Future assistance and cooperation could be severely and irreparably compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," Ayalon told the meeting.
Ayalon urged the participants to "do their best to turn the Palestinian leadership away from confrontational and provocative unilateral steps and lead them back to the negotiating table where they will find a waiting Israeli government intent on finding solutions to all the outstanding issues with a view to arriving at a real and lasting end to our conflict."
Israeli and Palestinian diplomats Sunday confirmed that Fayadh and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Barak met earlier in the day. No details were given.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today Monday. He is scheduled to hand him the request for full UN membership next Friday, though.
A UN diplomat also told reporters that once Ban receives the request, he has to transfer it to the Security Council which will be faced with two options: vote on whether Palestine should become a UN full member, or vote to transfer the issue to an 'Admission Committee,' comprised of the same Council members, which will examine the request, and may take months to do so. Its decisions, he added, are by consensus and if one Committee member objects, the request will be rejected.
In a related matter, Palestinian Riyadh Mansour rejected press reports which said the US will not have to veto the statehood resolution in the Security Council because it does not even have the nine votes necessary for a resolution to be adopted.
He claimed that nine Council members already recognize Palestine bilaterally. "How can they not recognize it at the UN?" he argued.