Ramallah NAM meeting cancelled as Israel bars ministersAgence France-Presse . Ramallah
A key meeting of Non-Aligned Movement ministers which was to have taken place in the West Bank on Sunday was cancelled after Israel denied five of them entry, officials said.
The ministers were to have attended a two-day meeting of the movement’s Palestine Committee in Ramallah at which they were poised to sign a declaration in support of a fresh Palestinian bid for upgraded UN membership.
‘After consultation between all the delegations in Amman and the Palestinian leadership, the Ramallah meeting of the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement has been cancelled,’ a senior Palestinian official said.
The cancellation came shortly after Israel barred ministers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cuba and Algeria from travelling to Ramallah.
A senior Israeli official said the ban targeted five countries, which have no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
‘A decision has been taken to bar the diplomatic representatives of several countries which do not recognise Israel from crossing the Israeli borders,’ he said.
Algeria had earlier informed the Palestinian Authority it would not be sending a delegation in order to avoid friction at the Israeli-controlled frontier.
Foreign ministers from the 13 countries belonging to NAM’s Palestine Committee were to have signed the so-called ‘Ramallah Declaration’ in support of a Palestinian bid to upgrade their UN status from observer to non-member state.
Speaking to reporters in Ramallah on Saturday, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said the statement was ‘a political declaration that endorses and supports the Palestinian people’s right to have state, condemns settlements and supports the Palestinian bid to obtain non-member status at the UN.’
The request will be put to the UN General Assembly on September 27, he said in a move which comes exactly a year after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas tried to obtain full member status.
Despite the high-profile effort, the request was never put to a vote in the UN Security Council, where the United States had pledged to use its veto to block the application.
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