Bulgaria to abstain in UN General Assembly vote on resolution on Palestine, urges direct Israel – Palestinian talks

Bulgaria will abstain in the vote in the UN General Assembly on the resolution which would upgrade the Palestinian status from observer entity to observer state, Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said.

About 60 countries are co-sponsoring the resolution that will be introduced on November 29 2012. Palestinian authority president Mahmoud Abbas will address the UN General Assembly just ahead of the vote.

The Palestinians are expected to obtain the required simple majority of the UN’s 193 member states who are present and voting. But they will not have the support of some key countries, including the United States and some Europeans, the Voice of America said.

Mladenov said that Bulgaria’s decision was based on a careful analysis of the draft resolution and the potential implications it would have on the prospects for the resumption of the Middle East peace process. Bulgaria supports the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people for self-determination and was one of the first countries to recognise the State of Palestine in 1988, he said.

“The main reason for our decision is our conviction that the proposed resolution would not improve the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, especially in the context of the delicate situation in the region.”

The adoption of the resolution does not provide sufficient guarantees that there would be a rapid resumption of direct negotiations.

“Our principled position is against unilateral actions by either side. Such acts lead to greater encapsulation and isolation and obstruct the peace process,” Mladenov said.

“We believe that just as the Jewish people have their own state, so the Palestinian people have a right to a state of their own,” he said.

“It is our firm understanding that peace in the region and the establishment of a sovereign and democratic Palestinian state, co-existing in peace and security with Israel, is possible only through the resumption of direct negotiations between the two parties. Such negotiations need to take place with no preconditions and within the framework of international law and UN resolutions.”

The recent developments in Southern Israel and Gaza clearly show that every delay in the quest for a peaceful resolution results in many innocent victims, and to further frustration and radicalisation. Bulgaria welcomes the efforts by Egypt, the United States and the UN Secretary General regarding the achievement of a ceasefire.

“I trust that a lasting solution to the conflict may be achieved only through the path of negotiations. Bulgaria will continue to actively develop its traditionally friendly relations both with the Palestinian and with the Israeli side,” he said.

The Voice of America said that Israel opposes the initiative in the General Assembly, which will open doors for the Palestinians, including membership in UN organisations and the possibility of joining the International Criminal Court.

Quoted by the BBC, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said: “Trying to circumvent direct negotiations, it will raise frustrations, raise expectations, will change nothing on the ground.”

If the Palestinians are allowed to join the International Criminal Court, they could ask the prosecutor to investigate Israel’s actions in their territories, VOA said. Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour said this week that they are unlikely to apply to join the court anytime soon.

“I don’t believe that we are going to be rushing the second day to join everything related to the United Nations, including to the ICC. But yet at the same time, it is not fair for us to tie our own hands of all the possibilities that could be available to us,” he said, quoted by VOA.

Mansour dismissed critics who warn the Palestinian move is a unilateral one that will hurt the peace process. He said that if the day after the resolution is adopted Israel wants to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians would respond “in a positive way”.

(Photo of the UN General Assembly: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)





The Sofia Globe staff

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