January 19, 2011

CARDIN URGES U.S. TO USE UNITED NATION'S VETO POWER TO BLOCK POTENTIAL ANTI-ISRAEL RESOLUTION

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to use the United States' veto power in the United Nations Security Council to block the latest anti-Israel resolution that currently is being drafted by the Palestinian Authority. The language being considered would attempt to avoid direct negotiations with Israel and dictate terms of a would-be Palestinian state. Such hostile actions would be counter to U.S. efforts to encourage direct negotiations that will lead to a viable two-state solution.
 
"We are very concerned about reports that the Palestinian Authority is drafting a resolution intended for consideration at the United Nations Security Council regarding issues that have been and should continue to be pursued through direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel," Senator Cardin said in the letter to Secretary Clinton. "Attempts to use a venue such as the United Nations, which you know has a long history of hostility toward Israel, to deal with just one issue in the negotiations, will not move the two sides closer to a two-state solution, but rather damage the fragile trust between them.
 
Senator Cardin joined Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer (Both D-NY) in signing the letter to Secretary Clinton, along with Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez (Both D-NJ), Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (Both R-ME), Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), David Vitter (R-LA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
 
 
The full letter is below and attached as a PDF:
 
January 18, 2011
 
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
 
Dear Madame Secretary,
 
We are very concerned about reports that the Palestinian Authority is drafting a resolution intended for consideration at the United Nations Security Council regarding issues that have been and should continue to be pursued through direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, namely borders and settlements. We believe such a move hurts the prospects for a peace agreement and is not in the interest of the United States.
 
We strongly urge you to make clear that the United States will veto such a resolution if it is raised at the Council, and to clearly communicate United States' intent to do so to other Security Council members.   
 
A resolution of this nature would work against our country's consistent position, which has been that this and other issues linked to the Middle East peace process can only be resolved by the two parties negotiating directly with each other. Between November 2009 and September 2010, the government of Israel imposed a settlement freeze as a goodwill gesture, yet the Palestinians refused to negotiate until the very last month. Attempts to use a venue such as the United Nations, which you know has a long history of hostility toward Israel, to deal with just one issue in the negotiations, will not move the two sides closer to a two-state solution, but rather damage the fragile trust between them.
 
We know you have a deep understanding of these issues and a heartfelt friendship toward one of our closest allies, Israel. That is why we urge you to clearly signal that the U.S. will veto this resolution, and to make it clear to the Palestinian Authority that it needs to sit down in direct talks with Israel, rather than pursue unhelpful resolutions at the United Nations.    We stand ready to be helpful to you in this matter.
 
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