World

Palestine gets NAM support
for liberty, UN membership

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministers ended the movement’s 16th intersessional meeting here Friday with strong support for an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The 120 members of the movement also vowed to get as much recognition as possible to allow Palestine UN membership in case a two-state peace process mediated by the Quartet, comprised of the UN, the US, EU and Russia, failed to gain results by September when UN General Assembly members are to convene.

“The ministers reaffirmed the long-standing international consensus recognizing the Palestinian people as a nation and recognizing their inalienable right to self-determination and independence in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the declaration read.

In its declaration, NAM also reiterated the demand that “Israel immediately and fully end its illegal blockade of Gaza in accordance with international humanitarian law, UN resolutions and the November 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access”.

NAM also urges its 30 members not yet recognizing a Palestinian state to do so “as soon as possible”.

Three ASEAN members — Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar — have yet to recognize the Palestinian right to independence.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told a press conference after the adoption of the declaration that the 120 NAM members agreed to set out plans of action, including approaching more countries — NAM or non-NAM members — to recognize Palestine while persuading the Quartet members and the UN Security Council’s members to support Palestine’s application for a UN member.

“From now until September, Indonesia has proposed an action plan to realize the objective of making Palestine an independent and UN member. Such a plan and an encouragement to recognize Palestine is not meant to undermine, to belittle, to cancel out, the existing peace process,” he said. “All NAM members I believe would subscribe to the need for the peace process, for the direct negotiation to make progress. But what we have done now is to provide a plan B, an alternative fallback position, should the peace process not make substantive progress.”

Marty said it was in September last year at the UN General Assembly, that the US expressed its hope that the representative of Palestine accede as a member of the UN.

He said he had pleaded the three ASEAN’s countries to recognize Palestine during the conference, adding that many of those failing to recognize Palestine had said that they were in the process of doing so.

Despite a series of peace talks between Israel and Palestine mediated by the US and Arabic countries as well as the Quartet, the process failed to end the conflict. In principle, both sides have agreed to a two-state solution. But issues of Israeli settlements, political prisoners, borders and Jerusalem have become stumble blocks in the negotiation.

NAM also issued a separate statement on Palestinian political prisoners, demanding Israel “release without any preconditions the prisoners arrested in relation to their activities opposing the occupation”.

There are currently more than 6,000 Palestinians held in 22 prisons and detention camps, including 300 children under the age of 18.

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