US Senators warn Abbas about upcoming UN bid

Democrats and Republicans say move could jeopardize American aid, and that negotiations are the only way to a Palestinian state

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah on October 13, 2012 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah on October 13, 2012 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

JTA — US Sens Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly.

The letter, sent Wednesday, said that “Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations.”

Cardin and Collins, who co-authored a Senate resolution denouncing the statehood bid which passed unanimously in June and was co-sponsored by 90 senators, also warned Abbas that “any such efforts may cause consequences in regards to US policy and foreign aid.”

A bid in the General Assembly is likely to be approved. Last year, the United States used its veto to prevent a similar statehood bid in the UN Security Council. No country has a veto in the General Assembly.

US.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in announcing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on Wednesday night in Cairo, said the next steps include moving toward a “comprehensive peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said Wednesday at the Security Council that the United States “view(s) unilateral steps, including the bid for upgraded status to statehood — observer state status at the General Assembly — to be counterproductive and not take us closer to that goal, and, therefore, we strongly oppose it.”

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