Bulgarian PM Quiet on UN Palestinian Independence Vote amid Netanyahu's Courting

Diplomacy | July 7, 2011, Thursday // 15:48|  views

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia after the historic first joint sitting of the Cabinets of Bulgaria and Israel. Photo by BGNES

After his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sofia, Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov has refused to give a clear-cut answer about the country's position in a potential UN vote on the independence of the Palestinian Authority in September.

At a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, right after the governments of Bulgaria and Israel held an unprecedented joint sitting, the Israeli Prime Minister did admit that the Palestinian initiative in the UN for the recognition of the Palestinian Authority as an independent state in the fall of 2011 was on the agenda of the talks with the Bulgarian government on Thursday.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov stated in turn that Bulgaria is in talks with the other EU countries on the Palestinian issue, and that Bulgaria's position is that all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute must be back on the negotiations table. However, Borisov refused to provide a clear-cut answer about Bulgaria's final decision on the Palestinian recognition initiative in the UN.

"Our definitive opinion is that everybody needs to go back to the negotiation table," the Bulgarian PM declared, while giving a non-committal answer, pointing out that there is a lot of time before the potential vote in the UN in September.

After a two-year impasse in negotiations with Israel, the Palestinian Authority is now planning to gain recognition as a state from the UN General Assembly in September 2011 if the Israelis do not offer an "acceptable settlement". A successful application for membership in the United Nations requires approval from the UN Security Council and a two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly.

During his visit in Ramallah in June 2010, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov stated Bulgaria supports strongly the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov and President Georgi Parvanov have also expressed support for the creation of an independent Palestinian while the Borisov Cabinet has been forging ever closer ties with Israel in the past 2 years.

Bulgaria traditionally has strong ties with both Israel and the Palestinians and other Arab nations, and has been trying to deepen its good relations with both.

Before the joint sitting of the Cabinets of Bulgaria and Israel in Sofia on Thrusday, The Jerusalem Post reported that “according to Israeli officials, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, during a meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem two weeks ago, left the impression that Bulgaria would not support the Palestinian move.”


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Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Hamas, Gaza, Gaza Strip, flotilla, Iranian nuclear program, Palestine, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian, Middle East peace talks, UN, UN General Assembly, UN Security Council


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