UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, New York: The UN’s special envoy on Mideast peace, Robert Serry, has received requests from Palestinian officials to join 13 international conventions and treaties, the UN confirmed Wednesday.
The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture, and the one against corruption.
Once these applications have been officially received at the UN headquarters, “we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriate next steps,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the secretary general.
The requests come as peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis were close to collapse, with Israel making a new bid to expand settlements in annexed Arab east Jerusalem and the Palestinians taking fresh steps towards seeking recognition of their promised state.
The Palestinians had pledged to freeze all moves to seek membership in UN organizations during the talks in return for Israel’s release of the veteran Arab prisoners.
“We hope a way can be found to see the negotiations through,” UN spokesman Haq said, noting that Serry had met with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni.
Envoys from the “quartet” — the US, EU, UN, and Russia — also spoke by telephone he said.
But Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour said the requests were “a formality” and that their membership in the treaties would come into effect “30 days after the Secretary General receives the letter of accession.”
“What we did is legal,” he insisted, saying “it is our right” to join UN treaties and agencies, since the Palestinians obtained the status of an observer state in November 2012.
The Palestinian Authority has also asked Switzerland if it can join the Fourth Geneva Convention from August 1949 and the first additional protocol. And it has asked the Netherlands if it can join the Hague Convention of 1907 on laws and customs governing war.
“Our inclusion in the Geneva convention will be effective immediately because we are under occupation,” Mansour claimed, adding that these applications are just a first wave, with more coming depending on “the interest of the Palestinian people” as well as “the behavior of Israel.”