Arab League discusses Palestinian statehood

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says application to recognise Palestine as a state by UN will preserve peace process.

    Saeb Erekat says the Palestinian leadership is not aiming for 'confrontation or conflict' [Al Jazeera]

    Representatives of the Arab League have met in Qatar to discuss the Palestinian Authority's application to the United Nations for official recognition as a Palestinian state.

    Wednesday's meeting in Doha, the Qatari capital, came before the UN General Assembly meeting in September.

    Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, said the application was a positive development for the peace process.

    "Our request for UN permanent membership for the Palestinian State with 1967 borders and capital as Jerusalem doesn't aim any kind of confrontation or conflict but it is only to maintain the option of two states and to preserve the peace process," Erekat said.

    He spoke after meeting Arab League representatives including the foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, the UAE, Syria and Qatar.

    Independent state

    At the next UN General Assembly meeting in September, Palestinian leaders plan to put forward a proposal for the UN to recognise an independent Palestinian state

    The United States has said that it will veto any such proposal, and has pushed for another round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians instead.

    The Palestinian leadership, however, has urged the US to reconsider that position.

    "Veto on what, veto on the two-state solution? We're not out there to isolate anyone or to legitimise anyone," said Erekat.

    "We're there to delegitimise the Israeli settlement activities and the Israeli occupation, and to legitimise the birth and the restoration of the state of Palestine on the geographic map."

    Collapsed negotiations

    Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resumed in Washington last September, but collapsed weeks later over Israel's refusal to stop illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

    Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi, reporting on the meeting in Doha, said: "No matter what happens behind those doors here in Doha, no matter what happens at the United Nations, Arab leaders know that that won't change the reality on the ground.

    "The point of these meetings, the point of going to the UN for statehood recognition, is to build up international pressure on Israel; to build up international support for the Palestinian cause.

    "Palestinian leaders hope the next time they sit down at the negotiation table, they can sit down with more power."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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