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article imagePalestinian state attempt at UN general assembly will get US veto

By Lynn Herrmann     Sep 9, 2011 in Politics
Washington - The US government on Thursday expressed in no uncertain terms it would veto a Palestinian attempt at seeking full UN membership when the General Assembly opens later this month, saying establishing a state can “only be achieved by negotiations.”
In a State Department daily briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, “The U.S. opposes a move in New York by the Palestinians to try to establish a state that can only be achieved by negotiations.” Nuland added, “So, yes, if something comes to a vote in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will veto.”
The announcement earned a quick response from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a statement, a spokesman said: “We are going to the United Nations to request a full membership for Palestine in order to protect the rights of our Palestinian people and the concept of two-state solution,” according to Reuters.
Speaking a day earlier at the US Institute of Peace, Esther Brimmer, assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Organization affairs suggested a similar stance. Talking about US priorities at the UN, she said:
“In just the past year, we have engaged states on the Human Rights Council to call special sessions and launch international commissions of inquiry to investigate human rights violations in Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, and Syria, promoting international accountability and making clear that the eyes of the world are watching.” She did not mention human rights abuses in Gaza.
Brimmer then added the US disagrees with actions sometimes taken by UN Member States. “Unfortunately, Member States still sometimes take action in the UN General Assembly or elsewhere in the UN with which we vehemently disagree. We will continue to fight hard against any efforts to use UN bodies to delegitimize Israel, as well as efforts to unilaterally use the UN as the venue for addressing final status issues that must be decided in direct negotiations between the parties.”
George Mitchell, former US special envoy for Middle East peace, expressed pessimism over the US being able to sway Palestinian leaders from seeking Member State status at the General Assembly. Speaking on Thursday at a peacemaking conference at George Washington University, Michell any Palestinian attempt will likely fail. “I think there was and is little likelihood that they will succeed in that effort,” Reuters reports.
Mitchell resigned from his envoy position in May, drawing immediate reactions from both sides in the territorial dispute. “He hit a brick wall. Or maybe he thought he was tilting at windmills,” said Daniel Levy, a veteran Israeli peace negotiator, Huffington Post reports.
Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said in an email to HuffPo: “He quit because he failed and he failed because he received a mission impossible from President Obama.”
Earlier this year, Palestinian rival factions Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement in forming a unity government, ending a four-year dispute. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement “strikes a serious blow to the peace process,” according to the Atlantic Wire.
More about un general assembly, Palestinian state, Veto, Unity government, Middle East
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