Middle East

Council of Europe body gives Palestinians ‘partner’ status

STRASBOURG, France: The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe Tuesday granted the Palestinian National Council “Partner for Democracy Status” in only the second time such a status has been awarded.

The status aims to strengthen Europe’s ties to neighboring countries and allows “partners” to participate in European assembly proceedings, without voting rights. It was granted for the first time ever in June to Morocco.

The status “creates new opportunities for the Palestinian people,” said Dutch European lawmaker Tiny Kox, in a statement issued by the assembly.

Selim al-Zanoun, speaker of the Palestinian National Council, called the move “historic.” The PNC is the legislative arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization .

The status is set to be reviewed in two years.

In the intervening period, the European Assembly will monitor Palestinian moves in several areas, including “refraining from violence, rejecting terrorism [and[ recognizing the right of Israel to exist,” the statement said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month submitted a request to the United Nations seeking full membership status, a move the U.S. has vowed to block.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 05, 2011, on page 8.

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