December 14, 2011

Palestine Seeks EU Backing for UN Membership

Abbas Seeks EU Backing for U.N. Membership

December 15, 2011

The Daily Star - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the European Union Wednesday to support the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership, as the bloc’s top diplomat called for the resumption of direct talks with Israel.

“Yesterday we raised the flag of Palestine in front of UNESCO and I thanked the president [Herman Van Rompuy] for their support for this endeavor,” Abbas said after meeting the EU president. “I hope the day will come when we will raise the flag of Palestine at the U.N. and with the support of the European Union.”

The EU is split on the issue, however. At a vote concerning raising the flag at the U.N.’s education, science and culture agency, 11 EU nations voted in favor – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Spain.

Eleven others abstained – Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia – and five voted against. They were the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Meanwhile, the EU’s chief diplomat Catherine Ashton said after a meeting with Abbas that the bloc’s “overarching objective” was “the creation of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.”


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