US urges Europe to block Abbas' UN bid: leaked memo
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The United States urged European nations not to support the Palestinian Authority's bid to upgrade its status at the United Nations, according to documents obtained by The Guardian in a report published Monday.
In a memo seen by the UK-based newspaper, the United States warned European governments "to support [US] efforts" to block the bid, and threatened "significant negative consequences" including financial sanctions if Palestine secured an upgrade to its UN status.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on Thursday he would seek "observer state" membership at the world body, a downgrade from the full membership he requested last year.
The 2011 bid was staunchly opposed by Israel and the United States, and failed to pass the Security Council.
Washington holds veto power at the Security Council but not in the 193-member General Assembly, where a vote for "observer state" membership would likely be supported.
The US memo, which was communicated to representatives of European governments, said the upgrade "would have significant negative consequences, for the peace process itself, for the UN system, as well as our ability to maintain our significant financial support for the Palestinian Authority."
It noted that "observer state" membership of the UN would allow Palestine access to the International Criminal Court. At the ICC, Palestine could challenge Israel's settlement building, occupation and blockade on Gaza, which breach international law.
"We hope you are willing to support our efforts … We would appreciate knowing where your government stands on this issue. We would also be interested in knowing whether you have been approached on this matter by Palestinian representatives," the US document said.
The Guardian reported that the US State Department declined to comment on the issue.