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Friday, June 22, 2007

Russia, South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia block Abbas, back Hamas in UN

Russia, South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia back Hamas in UN
[New York, Israel News, June 22] Russia, South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia have blocked support for the Palestinian government  of Mahmud Abbas, prefering instead to support the Islamist coup in Gaza. The opposition came in the face of open backing by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office for the new Palestinian emergency government and its call for recognized the authority of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The countries blocked a U.S. initiative for a Security Council declaration of confidence in the Palestinian emergency government on Wednesday, June 20.  
Michael Williams, the secretary general's Middle East envoy, supported the the Palestinian emergency government of PM Salam Fayad at a briefing on the Middle East for Security Council members Wednesday.   Williams asserted that despite events, Gaza and the West Bank was still a single Palestinian territory, legally ruled by the PA under Abbas's leadership. As Abbas has set up the emergency government headed by Fayad, he insisted, Israel and the international community must provide immediate political and financial aid to Abbas and the new government, including transfer of the Palestinian tax money that Israel has been withholding.
The United States, Britain and France, want to garner Security Council support for an international front supporting Abbas, which also includes the European Union and major Arab states. The American proposed  resolution also included a denunciation of the violence in the Gaza Strip.
However, the U.S. was forced to withdraw its proposal even before it reached the draft stage, due to strong objections from Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar.
According to UN sources in New York, these countries  object to the anti-Hamas policy and to American and European efforts to isolate the group as a terror organization. Russia and South Africa have questioned the legitimacy of the Palestinian emergency government arguing that a Palestinian unity government is possible and preferable to the emergency government headed by Fayad, which has authority in the West Bank only.
The South African ambassador claimed that the international community, especially the U.S., Israel and the Quartet, are to blame for the situation in the Gaza Strip. This is the same accusation as was made in the leaked end of mission statement of former U.N. diplomat Alavaro De Soto. The Indonesian ambassador complained that the Security Council was devoting time and energy to discussions of Lebanon but ignoring the Palestinian problem.
The Palestinian observer to the UN likewise objected to a declaration of support for the emergency government. He argued that such a declaration would constitute intervention in the PA's internal affairs.

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