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Erekat: UN bid to aid two-state solution

Oct. 16, 2012 12:38 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 17, 2012 7:30 P.M.)
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that all countries seeking to achieve peace based on the two-state solution should vote in favor of the Palestinian bid for non-member status at the United Nations.

During a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and US general consul Michael Ratney, Erekat said the UN draft resolution emphasized the illegality of settlements and noted that an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories should be based on 1967 borders.

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi on Monday met with the Brazilian foreign minister and the Brazilian representative to the PA Ligia Maria Scherer.

"It is inspiring to know that Brazil continues to stand with us and has recognized our state with East Jerusalem as its capital since 2010," Ashrawi said during the meeting.

She thanked Brazil for its pledge to donate $15 million over three years to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, a PLO statement said. "This represents a genuine commitment to the universal principles of justice and humanity and the reaffirmation of Brazil’s standing as an even-handed mediator for peace," Ashrawi said.

The PLO official briefed the Brazilian delegation on the situation in Palestine.

"With the escalation of settlement activities in and around Jerusalem and in Area C, the continued annexation of Palestinian land and natural resources, the construction of apartheid walls, recurrent settler attacks of terror on Palestinian villages and farms, Israel is thwarting all efforts to resume talks and to honor its obligations under international humanitarian law."

BRIC support 'essential'

Ashrawi emphasized the importance of support from Brazil, and its counterparts in the BRIC group -- Russia, India and China.

"In light of the US monopoly over the peace process, it is essential that Brazil and the rest of the BRICS countries encourage support from the international community to back Palestinian initiatives to seek membership at the UN. Multilateral engagement is essential and the application of international law must be enforced," Ashrawi said.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told the Security Council on Monday that the UN bid would "jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations."

There have been no direct peace talks with Israel since 2010, when the PLO refused to resume negotiations unless the Israeli government suspended illegal settlement building in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The president of the 193-member UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, has said the bid to upgrade Palestine's status will likely be debated in mid-November, after the US elections.

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