3 December 2012

South Sudan Envoy Explains Support for Palestinian UN Status

Washington — The Republic of South Sudan has strongly defended its position on the status of Palestine in the United Nations, saying its vote in favor of the resolution was to support the right of self-determination of the Palestinians.

Last week, 138 UN member countries, approved the vote for Palestine's observer status at the global body, while nine others, including the United States of America and Israel among others opposed the move, in which 41 nations abstained.

This followed a draft resolution introduced by Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman; the Sudanese permanent representative to the UN on 28 November. Osman, who also chairs the Arab group, tabled the document before the UN General Assembly, on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The draft resolution, entitled "Status of Palestine in the UnitedNations," was co-sponsored by 59 countries, including China, Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.

It "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967."

The General Assembly "decides to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestinian people," the draft resolution said.

Meanwhile, the US, according to the media reports, immediately criticized the vote, describing it as "unfortunate and counterproductive resolution which it said places further obstacles in the path peace".

South Sudan, one of the countries that backed the Palestinian bid has, in recent days faced widespread public criticisms over its UN permanent representative decision to vote in favor of the resolution.

However, Ambassador Francis Nazario, deputy head of the South Sudanese mission in the UN, has defended his country's decision, saying the right to self-determination of any nation can only be realized through a negotiated peace agreement.

"That is why we believed that that in the context of conflict between two identity groups contesting the right of self-determination and the establishment of an independent state that would qualify for membership in the United Nation, the most practical and viable outcome is a negotiated agreement," partly reads Nazario's statement to the General Assembly.

In voting for the resolution, he said, South Sudan supports the right of self-determination for Palestine, which is a right guaranteed under the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights as well as several other declarations and resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

He further cited the case of the young nation, which attained its independence from Sudan in July last year, after a successful self-determination referendum, which resulted from the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

"Even with an agreement that results in independence as our case between South Sudan and Sudan testify, problems can also arise after the exercise of self-determination resulting in independence", he added.

By supporting the resolution, Nazario told the UN assembly, South Sudan encourages the parties involved in the conflict to negotiate an agreement that can guarantee self-determination as well as the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

South Sudan, he reiterated, further calls for continued negotiations between Israel and Palestine, aimed at establishing two viable states, living side by side, as provided for by 1993 Oslo accord.

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