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Friday, June 03, 2011

Who's lying - Ban Ki Moon or the PLO? (Or both?)

JPost reports:
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday voiced his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, but said that the matter is in the hands of the UN General Assembly, Palestinian Authority officials quoted him as saying.

The officials said that the secretary-general, who met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome, also expressed hope that members of the UN would show understanding for the Palestinian statehood bid.

The UN website says:

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority.

The Secretary-General expressed his concern at the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process, but said that he had been encouraged by the vision laid out in U.S. President Obama's recent speech on the Middle East.

President Abbas briefed the Secretary-General on efforts to form a new Palestinian Government. The Secretary-General noted that Palestinian reconciliation should be based on PLO commitments and Quartet principles. He said the reconciliation effort should be given a chance.

The Secretary-General said achieving the goal of an independent, viable Palestinian state was long overdue. The Secretary-General thanked President Abbas for outlining Palestinian thoughts and plans on working toward statehood and on what was required for a return to negotiations.

The Secretary-General stressed that now, more than ever, it was important that the Palestinians and Israel engage in real, genuine and meaningful negotiations. The Secretary-General said he knew it was the Palestinian National Authority's priority to return to negotiating table.
So did Ban Ki-Moon say that "the matter was in the hands of the UN General Assembly"? The UNGA cannot establish a state and it seems unlikely that Ki-Moon would say otherwise. The UN press release certainly says nothing of the sort.

On the other hand, Ki-Moon is clearly lying when he says that it is "the Palestinian National Authority's priority to return to negotiating table." This entire UN exercise is their attempt to avoid going to the negotiating table.

Furthermore, the UN press release implies that the PNA has been doing negotiations, when in fact it is the PLO that has been - the PNA is strictly limited to domestic governing, not foreign affairs. When Abbas meets with internationals, it is as a representative of the PLO, not the president of the PA.

So to answer the question - both of them are liars.

(h/t Mike)