Sunday, August 28, 2011

Palestinians say China will back statehood bid

China has said it will vote in favour of Palestinian statehood when the matter is presented to the UN Security Council next month, the official Palestinian news agency said on Friday.

A message to that effect from Chinese President Hu Jintao was delivered to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday, WAFA said.

Hu said China has "always supported the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state" on all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians are to formally submit their request for membership to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on September 20 when world leaders begin gathering in New York for the 66th session of the General Assembly.

The decision comes after direct peace talks with Israel ran aground late last year in an intractable dispute over Jewish settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land.

Israel is implacably opposed to such a move, saying negotiations are the only way to resolve the conflict and establish a Palestinian state in a position backed by Washington. more