EU envoy warns PA of UN bid’s negative consequences

Andreas Reinicke says the European Union may not take a unified stance on issue of nonmember state status for Palestinians

The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (photo credit: CC BY Francisco Antunes, Flickr)
The European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (photo credit: CC BY Francisco Antunes, Flickr)

The European Union has yet to take a position on a potential Palestinian bid for upgraded status at the United Nations and may not take a united stance at all, the EU’s special envoy to the Middle East said in an interview published on Saturday.

Speaking to London-based Al Hayat, Andreas Reinicke warned the Palestinian Authority that a unilateral bid for nonmember state status could have negative economic and political consequences.

Reinicke said he was certain that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was considering all of his options. He said that the EU was yet to receive any specific requests from the Palestinians, and that it was unclear what their intentions were at the present time.

The envoy confirmed the EU’s commitment to transfer promised financial aid to the PA, but he said the aid would not be augmented in light of the global economic crisis.

Abbas said Wednesday that a bid to gain nonmember status at the UN does not obviate the necessity for peace talks with Israel, and that it was in fact an effort to save the two-state solution.

“We’re ready to go back to negotiations straight away. Going to the UN is not a substitute for negotiations. We are in need of negotiations to solve the final status of issues that face us both,” Abbas told reporters during a visit of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev’s to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinians currently hold observer status at the UN. An upgrade by the General Assembly to nonmember status, though non-binding, would effectively recognize Palestinian statehood — a move that could open the way for the Palestinians to take legal action against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

Last month, speaking to the UN General Assembly, Abbas was fiercely critical of Israel, saying “settler crimes” could be traced back to the Israeli government and were an “inherent byproduct” of continued occupation and an Israeli policy of “ethnic cleansing.”

“The Israeli government rejects the two-state solution,” Abbas said at the assembly. “Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new nakba.”

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

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