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Erekat: Palestinian Authority will pursue UN statehood bid alone if necessary - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, listens to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat make a statement to the press after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, listens to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat make a statement to the press after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—The chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority would unilaterally propose a UN resolution to create a Palestinian state if it was unable to win European or American backing.

“If we can reach an agreement with Europe or the US on this [draft resolution], then great, otherwise we will propose our unilateral draft resolution which confirms the principle of the state [of Palestine] and puts an end to the occupation,” Erekat told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“There is a joint Arab draft resolution today, and there are French proposals that we are engaging with seriously, but the most important thing for us is the content which is to confirm the principle of the state of Palestine along the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and resolve the rest of the final status issues,” he added.

His comments came a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to meet in Rome to discuss the Palestinian draft resolution.

Erekat and a delegation from the Arab League will meet with the US Secretary of State later on Monday to discuss the latest developments, including a draft joint Arab resolution that the Palestinian leadership has said it will present to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

The draft resolution outlines a specific timetable for a peace deal with Israel, setting a November 2016 deadline for Israel to withdraw from land sought for a Palestinian state.

Erekat said that the most important issues that must be dealt with include refugees’ right of return and illegal Israeli settlement building in the occupied territories. “We [also] want to put a deadline for ending the occupation,” he added.

During his meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu is expected to call on Washington to continue its longstanding policy of vetoing resolutions relating to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the UN Security Council. “Israel won’t accept any unilateral, time-defined measures,” Netanyahu told reporters before boarding his plane to Rome.

Erekat told Asharq Al-Awsat that he will inform US Secretary of State of the Palestinian position, and will wait and see what position Washington intends to take towards the draft resolution.

The latest movement over Palestinian-Israeli negotiations follows a number of votes in several European parliaments calling on governments to recognize a Palestinian states, bolstering hopes within the Palestinian Authority that this will be enough to pressure Washington not to veto the joint Arab draft resolution.