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Erekat: PA planning to declare statehood

Nov. 14, 2009 2:56 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2009 9:56 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Palestinian Authority is mobilizing international support for declaring statehood, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday.

"The idea is clear and understandable," Erekat told the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Ayyam. "Now we mobilize."

Palestinians will bring the issue to a vote before the United Nations Security Council, which would declare a Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 border with Israel, he explained. He called the initiative a response to Israel's policies, which would send a clear message that "settlements and other unilateral actions are null and void and do not establish rights or territory."

Erekat said he had discussed the idea more than once with the Americans and Europeans, while President Mahmoud Abbas raised the proposal with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian officials, who reacted positively. Abbas will seek support from Latin America by the end of the week, Erekat added, and continue to lobby Europe.

The concept was first proposed by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, he said. "Contacts with the Europeans have been ongoing as well as with Russia and the UN. All Arab countries support the idea and will choose the right time to bring up the issue with the UN Security Council after they consult the other international powers, including Europe and even America."
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