During a one-day visit to Israel, Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas said that the European Union (EU) had advised the Palestinian Authority (PA) to “be careful” over its forthcoming bid to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations (UN).
Kourkoulas spoke to the Jerusalem Post following meetings with his Israeli counterpart Danny Ayalon and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror. Although Kourkoulas stressed that there had been no formal EU discussion on upgrading the Palestinian delegation’s UN status, he said “The EU is advising them [the PA] to be careful” due to “the possible negative consequences of their decision.”
The PA intends to bring a vote of the UN General Assembly on 29 November to upgrade the status of the Palestinian UN delegation from a non-member ‘observer entity’ to a non-member ‘observer state’. The PA hopes that the implication of statehood will pave the way for widespread recognition of a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders. Israel has repeatedly argued that issues of Palestinian statehood and borders can only be resolved within the context of bilateral negotiations and that such a move by the Palestinians at the UN would be a setback to the peace process.
Kourkoulas indicated recognition of Israeli concerns, commenting, “We are still fully behind the peace process, and we have not discovered any other better alternative.” He candidly added that it is “obvious” that the PA’s bid for a UN upgrade would damage the diplomatic process.
Meanwhile on Iran, Kourkoulas said that the EU possesses the “political will” to increase sanctions which “hit the government and the regime” rather than the Iranian people.