Palestinian official calls for Kosovo-style independence declarationFebruary 20th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by admin
Ramallah, Feb 20 (DPA) A senior Palestinian official and member of the negotiating team Wednesday called for a Kosovo-style declaration of independence of the Palestinian areas. Yaser Abed Rabbo, a senior official in President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and also secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Voice of Palestine Radio that if the lack of progress in the negotiations with Israel continued, the Palestinians would have no option but to follow the model of Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence in the West Bank and Gaza.
“Kosovo is not better than us,” he said. “If Kosovo was able to unilaterally declare independence and gain recognition from the United States, the European Union and many other important countries, then why can’t we do the same?” he said.
He called on the Palestinian people to stop “firing missiles, shooting bullets and throwing rocks” into Israel from the Gaza Strip, so that the declaration of independence would be peaceful, arguing many countries recognized Kosovo due to its peaceful transition.
Abed Rabbo accused Israel of “wasting time” and “failing to move forward with the negotiations” while it was creating new facts on the ground with settlement construction, building the West Bank security wall and postponing final status issues such as Jerusalem.
“The negotiations with Israel are not going anywhere,” he said, a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.
The two leaders agreed to speed up negotiations to reach some sort of agreement before the end of 2008, as declared at the Nov 27 peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat already issued a unilateral declaration of independence in Algiers in 1988, but at the time there was no Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza, and Arafat led the Palestinians from exile in Tunisia.
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