Estonia says it will not support Palestinian statehood bid at the UN


NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) -- Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said during a meeting on Tuesday that his country will not support the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations later this week, the country's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Paet made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting between European Union and Russian foreign ministers, who are discussing how to react to a request expected by the Palestinians on Friday to become a member state of the United Nations (UN).

The Estonian Foreign Minister said the European country does not support unilateral steps in developments in the Middle East. "The most important thing is that direct talks between Israel and Palestine are reinstated. Only this will allow a two-state solution to be reached - that is, the good-neighborly coexistence of Israel and Palestine," he said.

Paet said unilateral actions at either the UN or other settings would make the peace process more problematic and warned that it would become harder to find a solution. "Nor will unilateral steps contribute to the recommencement of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, regional stability or, ultimately, the creation of a vital Palestinian state. Thus they cannot be supported," Paet said.

The Estonian official also said that a strong common position and action on the part of the European Union is necessary for the effective support for the Middle Eastern peace process. Estonia as a country has also not recognized the State of Palestine.

The Palestinian leadership is expected to submit a request to the UN Security Council on Friday to become a UN member state. However, the United States - one of the permanent members at the UN Security Council - has said it will veto any Palestinian bid to seek a full United Nations membership.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is ready to restart peace talks after he gets the UN recognition, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said such a move would fail. "The UN is not a place where Israel wins praise, but I think that it is important that I go there in order to represent both the State of Israel and the truth - and the truth is that Israel wants peace and the truth is that the Palestinians are doing everything to torpedo direct peace negotiations," Netanyahu said on Sunday.

The peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine have been stalled since last year when Israel refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Palestine has demanded a stop to settlement construction in the disputed East Jerusalem and West Bank area as a key element for continuing peace talks, aimed at reaching a two-state solution based on the 1967 Green Line. However, Israeli authorities have rejected the Palestinian solution based on the 1967 borders as that measure would leave a large population of Israelis in Judea and Samaria outside Israel's borders.

About 120 out of 193 countries have currently recognized the State of Palestine and those are seen as possible supporters if the UN votes on the issue. If the UN Security Council resolution to recognize Palestine is approved, Palestine would become the 194th member of the United Nations.

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