Obama backtracks on Palestinian statehood

2011-09-22 06:57

New York – US President Barack Obama used his address yesterday to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to convince nations to refrain from supporting Palestine in its bid to become a member of the UN.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to address the UNGA today when he is likely to make his bid official. He is likely to receive overwhelming support for the bid from the UN member states.

President Jacob Zuma has pledged his support to Palestine for an independent state.

But Obama was adamant that UN membership for Palestine will not be a sustainable way to find peace in the Middle East.

The US will use its veto right in the Security Council and block the membership bid once it goes to the Council for ratification

“There is no shortcut for a conflict that has been going on for decades. If there was, we would’ve stopped it long ago,” Obama said.

“Peace depends on people who have to live together long after our speeches are over, that is that lesson we learnt from Ireland and Sudan.”

He added the current situation is a test for US foreign policy and that of the world.

One year ago, Obama stood on the same platform expressing the hope that he would welcome the new state of Palestine at this year’s General Assembly, but that was not to be.

Since last year the peace talks deadlocked and although “the Palestinians deserve their own state”, it shouldn’t be done in this way, Obama said.

Obama pleaded for empathy from both sides, saying: “The deadlock will only be broken if each one of the parties can stand in the other’s shoes.”

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