PLO official says PA prefers negotiations to unilateral declaration of Palestinian state 25Apr11 April 26, 2011

Haaretz -  25 April 2011

The Palestinian Authority will defer its attempts to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state at the United Nations if “real and serious” negotiations with Israel begin, an official was quoted saying Monday.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yasser Abed Rabbo told London-based Al-Hayat newspaper on Monday that the basis of any negotiated agreement must be according to “the 1967 borders, very limited exchange of land and no exchanges of populations.”

Abed Rabbo called on the Middle East quartet, comprised of the UN, the European Union, the United States and Russia to “tackle these negotiations in accordance with the timetable we previously agreed on, which ends in September,” he told the London-based daily.

The quartet has called for an agreement to be reached by September on all final status issues to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

“Otherwise,” the PLO official said, “we will go to the United Nations, then ask them to deal with the military presence and the Israeli settlements as an assault on the sovereignty of another state, which is a member of the United Nations.”

He added that “these are the two solutions for international powers, especially Washington. We do not have a third option.”

Abed Rabbo said that the PA will honor all of its internal and external obligations as a formal state, but that it would not accept Israeli military or civilian presence in its territories.

The UN has commended the PA for the steps it has taken toward statehood and infrastructure building, saying last week that the progress made is “sufficient for a functioning government of a state.”

The Palestinian Authority has stepped up efforts in recent months to receive international recognition and support of a Palestinian state, and earlier this month Palestinian President Salam Fayyad presented a plan to major donors in Brussels claiming that a 5-billion-dollar aid plan could ensure the establishment of a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future.

Last week, following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that France supports Palestinian plans to get ready for statehood in September.

U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last September after Israel resumed building in the West Bank following a settlement freeze.
Abbas has said he will not resume talks with Israel until all West Bank settlement construction is suspended.

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