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Ashrawi: UN responsible for Palestinian state

Aug. 17, 2011 10:11 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 17, 2011 7:38 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Tuesday that the United Nations was the proper place for questions of Palestinian self-determination, following a meeting with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

"As the body charged with upholding international law," Palestinians hold the UN responsible for the establishment of their state, Ashrawi said in a statement.

Palestinian officials are recruiting support for a bid for membership of the UN as a Palestinian state, in the lead up to a September 20 General Assembly vote.

Her discussions with UN official Robert Serry on steps toward cooperating on Palestinian statehood were positive, Ashrawi said.

"We look forward to constructive cooperation with all Quartet [UN, EU, US and Russia] members leading up to and during the Palestinian quest for UN membership this September," she noted in a statement.

Ashrawi described Serry as stressing difficulties ahead, urging that the United Nations not "become a theater for division," but that September's meeting strengthens the prospects for a Palestinian state.

"Palestinian state-building capacities had already surpassed the threshold of statehood," the statement quoted Serry as saying.

The official reinforced the position of the international community, that a two-state solution should be achieved through negotiations, and expressed "alarm" over Israel’s Monday announcement of further construction in the West Bank Israeli-only settlement Ariel.

Settlement expansion will impinge the Quartet's ability to give a statement that creates a positive agenda, he said, referring to the diplomatic body of four charged with seeking peace in the Middle East.
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