Rabie Al-Hantuli First Counselor of UN Mission for State of Palestine

First Historic Vote for Palestine at the UN General Assembly

Download audio file 20 November, 2013 13:45

For the first time in history the State of Palestine was able to take part in a vote at the United Nations General Assembly. The irony that the vote was for a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), another country which has fought a long battle for self-determination, cannot be missed by historians and observers. The Voice of Russia spoke to the First Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Palestine to the United Nations Rabie Al-Hantuli regarding the vote and the current round of negotiations with Israel which has been occupying their territory since 1967.

Hello this is John Robles I am speaking with Rabie Al-Hantuli, he is the First Counselor of the Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations.

Robles: Hello. I was speaking with Dr. Riyad Mansour, the Ambassador, and he had to go, I was wondering if you could comment on his reaction and anything you would like to say about the vote in the United Nation. It was the first vote by Palestine, on the judge to the ICC.

AL-Hantuli: Yes, hello, this was an important step for the state of Palestine exercising its right in this international assembly.

The text of the ICTY mentioned that member states and non-member states of the UN can present candidates and vote to choose the judges of this tribunal and we fully exercised this right today.

Ambassador Mansour voted in the first and second round and we are very proud of being able to do so and as he said in his speech after the vote, it is clear that the international community who welcomed the participation of Palestine in this vote is fully ready to accept Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.

Robles: That is wonderful. So the Assembly applauded, I believe?

AL-Hantuli: Yes, and a lot of colleagues, diplomats and ambassadors came to congratulate us after the vote.

Robles: What was the reaction like from the Israel and the US side? Was there any negative reaction?

AL-Hantuli: Yes, they took the floor, but to be frank it is always the same negative reaction they adopt. But you know, this was a story in the making at the UN. We They can't revert the course of history.

Robles: That is wonderful. Do you see more votes coming up in the near future? What kind of votes is the state of Palestine going to be involved in?

AL-Hantuli: It depends. Where we can exercise this right, we will do it.

Robles: Has there been any pressure from Israel regarding the negotiations? Have they been trying to dictate to the state of Palestine that they should not seek recognition in bodies etc.?

AL-Hantuli: No, this is a Palestinian sovereign decision.

The President Mahmoud Abbas made it clear that first of all we are engaged in this 9 months period of negotiations and we will respect our engagement until the end of this period.

Second of all, we are restraining of joining any other international agency or program or institution because we had an agreement that Israel, the occupying power, is releasing (freeing) some Palestinian political prisoners that are held in Israeli jails since before the Oslo agreement.

So, it is clear, but the fact to take the vote and to become member of the international agencies, this is sovereign Palestinian decision.

We will go for it when the Palestinian leadership will see that this is in the interests of our people.

Robles: Do you see a real solution being found soon with Israel? They are still building settlements but do you see success in the current round of talks?

AL-Hantuli: We are fully and very seriously and in a decent way engaged in this process.

This is our commitment and we will keep it until the end.

The Israeli's practices on the ground are completely in contradiction with any goodwill with regard to the negotiations. But that said they will do what they want but we have our clear position and we are engaged in this and at the end I believe the Palestinian leadership will take the right decision at the right moment.

Robles: Thank you very much.

AL-Hantuli: "Speaks in Russian" Thank you.

 

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