The Netherlands and other EU member states abstain from vote on UN status for Palestine
On 28 November 2012, the Netherlands, along with Germany, the UK and 38 other countries, abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly on a resolution to grant Palestine non-member observer state status. Early last week, foreign minister Frans Timmermans consulted closely with his counterparts in London and Berlin. Thirteen EU member states abstained from the resolution, fourteen voted for, and one (the Czech Republic) voted against.
‘The Netherlands has no objections in principle to raising Palestine’s status,’ said Mr Timmermans, ‘but a resolution at this moment complicates the necessary resumption of negotiations to achieve a definitive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.’
At a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels the previous week, the EU had called on the Palestinians to postpone the UN vote.
At the UN, the Netherlands and the other EU member states issued statements explaining their decision, calling on all parties to refrain from steps that might undermine the peace process. Mr Timmermans called on Israel to halt its policy of establishing new settlements. The goal remains a two-state solution, in which Israel and a Palestinian state would coexist in peace and security.
The Netherlands remains committed to a sustainable peace settlement. To this end, it will use its good relations with both Israel and Palestinians, and work closely with international partners, including the Quartet and the EU.