Durkan tells Cameron to support PAin UN bid

LONDONDERRY MP Mark Durkan has challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to support Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for Palestinian statehood given the Government’s avowed support for “inclusion and consensus in building constitutions and states” post-Arab Spring.

The President of the Palestinian Authority was due to submit his bid to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.

The move is supported by Mr Abbas’ Fatah and also by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) but is opposed by the Islamist group Hamas which says such recognition would apply only to the West Bank and Gaza and not Palestine proper.

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Speaking in the House of Commons Mr Durkan said: “The Prime Minister has spoken of hope across the wider region following events in Libya.”

He asked: “Will both the premium that he and other international leaders have put on inclusion and consensus in building constitutions and states, and the primacy of democratic elections also be reflected in their response to the current efforts of the Palestinian Authority in respect of statehood, given that this month is the target date when statehood was to be recognised at the UN?”

Mr Cameron replied: “As I said earlier, I see all these issues as being linked. Just as we want to see greater democracy, peace and progress in middle eastern countries across the board, so we want to see the Palestinians have the dignity of their own state.

“However, we believe in the two-state solution, so it must be a Palestine alongside a secure Israel. When it comes to the whole issue of recognition, the test for us is: are we doing something that will help to push forward the peace process? That is the most important thing. In the end, we cannot compel Israel and Palestine to reach peace between themselves; they have to want to do it.”