U.S. Reviewing ‘Consequences’ of Palestinian Move to Join UN Agencies

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas coughs during his address at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. World leaders gathered for the 73rd annual meeting at the UN headquarters in Manhattan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – The Palestinian move to join United Nations agencies as an independent nation is “counterproductive,” a U.S. State Department official said over the weekend.

“It has been the longstanding position of the United States that efforts by the Palestinians to join international entities are premature and counterproductive,” the State Department official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Times of Israel.

His remarks came in response to a move by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who on Thursday joined the Universal Postal Union, a UN agency that coordinates international postage, as well as 10 other international protocols and conventions.

“The United States continues to make clear, both with the parties and with international partners, that the only realistic path forward is through direct negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace. We are currently reviewing possible consequences of the Palestinians’ recent actions,” the official said.

According to American law dating back to the early 1990s, it is incumbent on the U.S. to withdraw funding to any UN agency that grants the Palestinian member status, the report stated.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced last month it was cutting off funding from the Universal Postal Union because the agency promotes business with China and other foreign nations over American businesses by reducing overseas shipping expenses.

Apart from a bid to join the Universal Postal Union, Abbas also signed forms to join the Convention on the Nationality of Married Woman; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Damage Resulting from Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal; the Vienna Convention of Road Traffic; Protocol Concerning Countries or Territories at Present Occupied; the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages; Agreement Establishing the Common Fund for Commodities; and the International Convention on the Arrest of Ships.

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