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Jimmy Carter backs PLO move to sign treaties

April 7, 2014 4:11 P.M. (Updated: May 6, 2014 4:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday expressed support for the PLO's move to seek membership in international organizations.

"The decision by the Palestinians to exercise their right to join international organizations should not be seen as a blow to the peace talks," Carter said in a statement.

"I hope that, on the contrary, it will help to redress the power imbalance between Israelis and Palestinians, as we approach the 29 April deadline set by Secretary Kerry."

The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace, said Monday they are "deeply worried" by the current impasse in negotiations, but noted that President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to sign letters of accession to 15 treaties is "consistent with the UN non-member observer state status obtained by Palestine in November 2012."

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and deputy chair of The Elders, said as a UN non-member observer state, Palestine is "entitled to join international bodies."

"This move opens the way to more inclusive and accountable government in the West Bank and Gaza. It has the potential to strengthen respect for human rights and provide ordinary Palestinians with essential legal protections against discrimination or abuses by their own government," he said.

"In global terms, it will also increase their ability to enjoy, in practice, the protection of their basic rights granted to them by international law."

The Israeli government's March 29 failure to release the agreed-upon fourth round of Palestinian veteran prisoners -- jailed before the 1993 Oslo Accords -- has brought the US-brokered peace talks close to collapse.

The PLO responded by applying for membership to 15 international treaties.
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