Bloomberg News

Spain Backs Palestinian UN Bid, U.K. Sets Conditions

November 28, 2012

Spain said it will back the Palestinians’ bid to win recognition as a state at the United Nations while the U.K. set conditions for its vote and Germany ruled out support.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain will abstain unless the Palestinians commit to talks without preconditions and agree not to sign up to the International Criminal Court.

He was speaking after Spanish Foreign Minister Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo told the national parliament in Madrid that Spain will vote in favor. Germany won’t vote for the resolution and will work “closely” with European Union allies on the UN Security Council, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said today.

“Up until the time of the vote itself we will remain open to voting in favor if we see public assurances from the Palestinians,” Hague told lawmakers in the House of Commons in London today. “In the absence of assurances we will abstain on the vote.”

Delegates are set to vote tomorrow on a resolution circulated Nov. 8 by the Palestinian Authority that would put the Palestine Liberation Organization on par with the Holy See as a non-member state at the UN. Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio today that “surprises” are in store for the Palestinians if they proceed with the move.

France and Russia have already said they will support the proposal. No country has veto power in the General Assembly, so the U.S., which opposes the initiative, can’t block it.

Conditions

Hague said Britain’s support is contingent on Palestinian statements and redrafting of the resolution to guarantee the restart of talks without preconditions, that the International Criminal Court will not be called in to adjudicate on activities in the occupied territories and that nothing in the resolution prejudges deliberations by the UN’s Security Council.

“It’s important that we use our vote to try to say to both sides in this conflict we need talks without preconditions,” Prime Minister David Cameron told lawmakers today. “The only way we’re going to see a peace process that works is if Israelis and Palestinians come to the table.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Sills in Barcelona at bsills@bloomberg.net; Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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