Belgium working to upgrade Palestinian diplomatic status

Sep 5, 2011

Ramallah – Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme said Monday his government is working to upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinian delegation in Brussels in the very near future.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Ramallah with his Palestinian counterpart, Salam Fayyad, he said Belgium will study the draft resolution the Palestinian Authority plans to soon submit to the United Nations seeking membership as a state in the world body.

The UN General Assembly is expected to debate the Palestinian request for membership on September 20.

Leterme, who later met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his Ramallah headquarters, said his government hopes to see one European position on the Palestinian UN bid.

‘This will not solve all the problems,’ he said. ‘The road to peace should come through negotiations, which we hope to see launched between the Palestinians and Israelis as soon as possible.’

Fayyad said the Palestinians are determined to continue in their efforts to ask for UN recognition, which he said cannot be deterred by Israeli or other threats.

Earlier Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Leterme that the Palestinian UN bid would lead to a dead end in the peace process.

Netanyahu, who met with Leterme in Jerusalem in the afternoon, accused the Palestinians of avoiding negotiations and choosing instead to take their efforts directly to the UN.

He added he was prepared to travel to Ramallah to hold talks with Abbas, or have Abbas meet him in Jerusalem. They two could also parley in Brussels, Netanyahu said.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been dormant for nearly a year, after Israel refused a Palestinian demand to halt all construction at its settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Source: Monsters and Critics.

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