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Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas attends the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York on Setp. 21, 2011. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas attends the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York on Setp. 21, 2011. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Don't 'prejudge' Palestinian bid for UN recognition, opposition tells Harper Add to ...

The Official Opposition says Prime Minister Stephen is wrong to oppose recognition for Palestine at the United Nations and accuses him of prejudging the issue.

“If the Palestinians are looking to elevate their status as a non-state actor akin to the Vatican, what’s wrong with that?” NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar asked Wednesday after his party’s weekly caucus

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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas plans to submit an application for recognition to the UN on Friday.

Mr. Harper, who went to the United Nations on Tuesday for high-level talks on Libya and maternal health, said he did not believe the push by the Palestinians would to anything to further the peace process. If the Palestinian Authority is serious about establishing a sovereign state, it should negotiate peace with Israel, he said.

But Mr. Dewar said it’s wrong for the Prime Minister to prejudge something he hasn’t seen. “The text for the application by the Palestinians hasn’t been presented yet. It will be on Friday and, unlike the Prime Minister, we’re not going to prejudge.”

Pro-Israel groups in Canada support Mr. Harper’s stand, but his comments earned a sharp reply from envoys of the Palestinian Authority.

“I think we have to get away from looking at this as taking one side or the other and looking at how can we move things forward and get to negotiations,” Mr. Dewar added.

All parties in the House of Commons support a two-state solution. But Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said his party, like the Conservatives, does not agree that UN recognition for Palestine is appropriate at this moment.

“As a country, we need to be as supportive as we can on the peace process, of the mutual recognition principle, and what this clearly means over the next time is the emergence of a Palestinian state” Mr. Rae said.

But Liberals do not believe that the Palestinian application is timely, he said.

“We think that frankly, there’s so many issues to be settled between the parties. We don’t know what the borders and boundaries are, we don’t know what’s mutually agreeable,” Mr. Rae said. “We also think we should be doing everything we can to speed up the process of negotiation.”

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