Ambassador: Obama 'gave up' on Middle East

Sept. 13, 2011 at 5:26 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Palestinian ambassador to Washington said blocking Palestinians' U.N. bid for statehood is not "compatible with U.S. principles."

Palestinians' move to seek statehood at the United Nations "is aimed at preserving the two-state solution," Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian ambassador to Washington, told The Christian Science Monitor Tuesday. "We are trying to keep hope alive among the Palestinian people that this [two-state solution] is going to be feasible."

Areikat said the bid for statehood is "an issue of national pride for a people who want to be independent and free."

"I don't think it's the natural role for the U.S. to block the admission of a state" to the United Nations, Areikat said, adding such a position is not "compatible with U.S. principles."

The Obama administration has pledged to veto any statehood petition submitted to the U.N. Security Council and is sending its two Middle East envoys, David Hale and Dennis Ross, back to the region this week to try to nip a potential bid in the bud.

Areikat said Palestinians are disappointed that the initial priority given to the Middle East peace process by the Obama administration appears to have been abandoned, saying the administration "gave in and gave up."

Some members of the U.S. Congress have pledged to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they persist with a bid for statehood.

"We are not going to allow financial aid to be a sword over our necks," Areikat told the Monitor.

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