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UN confirmsreceipt of Palestinian applications to join global conventions, treaties

April 2014 – The UnitedNations confirmed today that Palestinian Authority officials have presentedletters for accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.

UN spokesperson Farhan Haqtold reporters that the documents had been presented to Robert Serry, the UNSpecial Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. “Once we receive theletters at Headquarters, we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriatenext steps,” Mr. Haq said.

He added that thePalestinian leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas upon signing theaccession letters on Monday night, has repeatedly emphasized that it wants tocontinue the negotiations with Israel that resumed in July 2013 under UnitedStates auspices.

“We hope that a way can befound to see negotiations through until the scheduled end of the nine-monthtimeframe set to expire on 29 April. The goal remains to arrive at asubstantive basis for negotiations towards a comprehensive peace agreement onall final status issues.”

Mr. Haq went on to saythat the UN is in contact with the sides to emphasize the need to managecurrent developments responsibly and act with restraint.

In that regard, Mr. Serrymet with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and the Minister ofForeign Affairs, Riyad Malki, this morning. He also met with Israeli negotiatorand Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni.

“A constructive approachfrom all sides is extremely important to preserve the prospects to arrive at apeace agreement and salvage the two-State solution,” said Mr. Haq, adding thatenvoys representing the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace processhave also spoken today by telephone.

The UN treaties andconventions, as well as the four Geneva Conventions and The Hague Convention(IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War (accession letters were submittedto the Swiss and Dutch Representatives to the Palestinian Authority) can befound here

At a press conference inNew York, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said that, at therequest of his Government, he had delivered copies of the 15 letters to theSecretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra. The Palestinian Authorityexpected the documents would be subsequently transmitted to the UN Office forLegal Affairs (OLA).

“Palestine is exercisingits legal right as a State to join those instruments and live up to itsinternational responsibility,” said Mr. Mansour, recalling the November 2012General Assembly vote according Palestine the status of non-member observerState at the UN.

“We are proud of this and considerit a step by our President to consolidate and strengthen the pillars of theState of Palestine in the international system,” he added, referring to theapplications.

Mr. Mansour went on tothank those assisting the Israeli-Palestinian political process, including USSecretary of State John Kerry. The Palestinian side, he said, will continue toparticipate in the process towards ending the occupations and realizing theaims of the two-state solution.

“We are ready to negotiatein good faith with Israel to put an end to this indignity,” he added.

Responding to questionsregarding the impact of this decision on the peace process, particularlyregarding the confidence-building measures agreed by both sides, Mr. Mansoursaid: “We do not believe what we have done violates anything.”

According to mediareports, under the terms paving the way for the current round of talks betweenthe two sides, Israel was to release some 100 Palestinian prisoners in fourphases, and the Palestinians were to refrain from taking action in theinternational arena.

Mr. Mansour said that thePalestinian leadership had been ready and willing to keep this [latest]exercise on hold as long as Israel had lived up to its pledge to release thenext group of Palestinian prisoners.

“But Israel did not honourits part of the agreement and when that happened, we were free to do whateverwe feel we need to do. In any case, it was our right after the adoption of the[General] Assembly resolution,” he declared.

As to whether thesubmission of letters to join the international treaties could be considered a“provocation,” he said it was Israel that had violated the agreement withregards to prisoner releases. “We are not looking for a confrontation withanyone. We are exercising our right and we will not be apologetic about that.We are only responsible to the Palestinian people.”

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