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EU still undecided on Palestinian statehood bid

Reuters

September 12, 2011 | 2:09 pm

A giant Palestinian flag is displayed outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels Sept. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Thierry Roge

A giant Palestinian flag is displayed outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels Sept. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Thierry Roge

The European Union has still not decided on a united position on a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations which the United States has said it will veto, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday.

“There is no resolution on the table yet (at the UN), so there is no position,” she said after meeting Egypt’s foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Cairo.

“What we’re very clear about from the European Union is that the way forward is negotiations,” she said. “We want to see a just and fair settlement, we want to see the people of Palestine and the people of Israel living side by side in peace and security, and I will do everything I can to help achieve that.”

Palestinian officials say that the European Union was waiting to see the text of the resolution that the Palestinians will submit to the United Nations.

EU states remain divided but want to avoid the 27-nation bloc splitting into opposing groups over the statehood bid.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will confer with Arab states on Monday and Tuesday over the bid for a UN recognition of statehood , Palestinian ambassador to the Arab League Barakat al-Farra said. Ashton will also meet with Abbas.

Diplomats have said it is not clear what the Palestinians will do when the U.N. General Assembly opens on September 19. They could seek lower status as a “non-member state,” which would require a simple majority of the 193-nation Assembly.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said for the first time last week that Washington would use its veto power in a Security Council vote for full recognition as a member state. Washington says statehood can only come via agreement with Israel.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is due to address the 22-nation Arab League on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority was set up in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to administer Palestinian affairs in 1993 but it has not been able to reach an agreement with Israel on establishing an independent state there with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Qatar, which won praise from the United States for its backing of Libyan rebels who toppled veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi, has taken a prominent role in organizing support for the Palestinian bid.

Reporting by Ayman Samir and Seham Eloraby, Writing By Yasminie Saleh, Editing by Andrew Hammond

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