Pales­tinian pres­i­dent threat­ens to go to UN

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Mah­moud Ab­bas, the Pales­tinian pres­i­dent, has signed a re­quest to join sev­eral UN agencies in a move that could de­rail a US push to re­vive fal­ter­ing peace talks with Is­rael.

“The Pales­tinian lead­er­ship has unan­i­mously ap­proved a de­ci­sion to seek mem­ber­ship of 15 UN agencies and in­ter­na­tional treaties, be­gin­ning with the Fourth Geneva Con­ven­tion,” Ab­bas said on tele­vi­sion af­ter sign­ing the de­mand dur­ing a meet­ing at his Ra­mal­lah head­quar­ters in the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

“The de­mands [for mem­ber­ship] will be sent im­me­di­ately” to the rel­e­vant agencies, he said.

“This is not a move against Amer­ica, or any other party - it is our right, and we agreed to sus­pend it for nine months,” said Ab­bas.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry im­me­di­ately an­nounced that he was can­celling a trip to the re­gion on Wed­nes­day that Wash­ing­ton had hoped would re­sult in a three-way deal aimed at ex­tend­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions into 2015.

“It is com­pletely pre­ma­ture tonight to draw any kind of judg­ment, cer­tainly any fi­nal judg­ment, about to­day’s events and where things are,” Kerry told re­porters in Brussels, where he was at­tend­ing a min­is­te­rial meet­ing of NATO.

Al Jazeera’s Ste­fanie Dekker, reporting from Jerusalem, said: “Go­ing to the UN means the po­ten­tial of go­ing for an in­de­pen­dent state and of turn­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court.

“It ups the pres­sure on the US and on Is­rael, some­thing they [Pales­tini­ans] have al­ways threat­ened. Dur­ing the nine months of talks Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas said they would not do this. But they were promised nine times the re­lease of this last batch of pris­on­ers,” our cor­re­spon­dent said.

Un­der the US-bro­kered deal that re­launched the peace talks in July, Is­rael said it would re­lease 104 Pales­tini­ans held since be­fore the 1993 Oslo peace ac­cords in ex­change for Pales­tine not press­ing for state­hood recog­ni­tion at the United Na­tions.

“Ab­bas feels he has no other choice. He is in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion among the Pales­tini­ans: The set­tle­ments have dou­bled; home de­mo­li­tions of Pales­tini­ans have dou­bled - and it is dif­fi­cult for him to jus­tify the talks with­out see­ing re­sults,” Dekker added. Malaysia has warned that the rea­sons for the Malaysia Air­lines plane’s dis­ap­pear­ance may never be known, as Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak heads to Aus­tralia for talks on the search.

Malaysia’s po­lice chief said that their in­ves­ti­ga­tion could “go on and on”. Ten planes and nine ships will search the south­ern In­dian Ocean. A UK sub­ma­rine has also joined the hunt.

Flight MH370 dis­ap­peared on 8 March as it was trav­el­ling from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing. It was car­ry­ing 239 people.

Mr Na­jib ar­rived in Perth, western Aus­tralia, yes­ter­day evening. He will visit the new Joint Agency Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­tre (JACC), where the south­ern In­dian Ocean search is be­ing led.

He will meet Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott, and re­tired air chief mar­shal An­gus Hous­ton, who is leading the JACC.

Mean­while, Malaysian po­lice chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion could “go on and on and on. We have to clear ev­ery lit­tle thing.”

“At the end of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the rea­son for this in­ci­dent,” he said.

He added that po­lice had “cleared” all the pas­sen­gers of the four key ar­eas be­ing in­ves­ti­gated: hi­jack­ing, sab­o­tage, and psy­cho­log­i­cal and per­sonal prob­lems, Malaysia’s Ber­nama news agency re­ported.

Pales­tinian leader Mah­moud Ab­bas.

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