US Repeats Opposition to Unilateral Declaration of Palestinian State
The United States on Monday reiterated its opposition to a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians following the PLO leadership's adoption of a declaration saying a state would be declared in mid-September, reported AFP.
"Both parties know that we oppose unilateral actions by either side, including a unilateral declaration of statehood," a State Department official said.
The official recalled the guiding precept of the 1993 Oslo accords which set up the peace process was the concept of "mutuality" under which decisions would be made jointly by Israel and the Palestinians, said AFP.
"Oslo is based on the principle of mutuality," the official said. "It is important that both parties adhere to this principle."
Earlier in Gaza, the Palestine Liberation Organization's 129-member Central Council adopted a final statement after two days of meetings, which said a state would definitely be declared on September 13th, the deadline for a permanent settlement.
The PCC said a Palestinian state must include all of the lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, including Arab east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of a future state, reported Reuters.
PCC head, Selim Zanoun, told reporters that the PCC called for the return of all Palestinian refugees and for the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, Reuters added.
"The establishment and implementation of a Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel on June 4th 1967 will happen on September 13th, at the end of the period," fixed for a final accord, Zanoun said, reading from the statement.
Meanwhile, Israeli television reported that Barak told a parliamentary defense committee on Monday that in the event of a unilateral declaration Israel would annex areas of the West Bank and Gaza that it still controls, said Reuters.
Barak's office did not confirm the statement, saying the committee's hearings were confidential.
As the September deadline looms, the two sides are still trying to narrow significant gaps that exist between them, particularly on the so-called "final status issues" that include Palestinian statehood, the future of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, security and water, said AFP – (Several Sources)
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