'Erekat Denies Palestinian Plans to Delay Bid for UN Recognition'

Chief Palestinian negotiator tells WAFA that 'the recognition train has already left for New York'; Al Sharq Al-Awsat reports that the PA wants to delay UN bid, fearing cutoff of U.S. aid to West Bank.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Tuesday reports that the Palestinian Authority is planning to delay its bid for United Nations recognition in September, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

"The Palestinian recognition train has already left the station and is heading toward New York," Erekat said.

Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat - AP - Feb. 6, 2010

The London-based pan Arab daily Al Sharq al-Awsat reported on Monday the Palestinian Authority plans on delaying its bid for United Nations recognition in fear of an economic crisis following a possible cutoff of United States aid to the West Bank.

According to the report, quoting "credible Palestinian sources," the Palestinians are worried that their economy will not be able to cope with the repercussions should the U.S. stop providing them with financial aid, after the Obama administration hinted that it is a possible response to the Palestinians' UN move.

The Gaza-based Palestinian website Quds.net quotes Palestinian sources as saying that the Palestinian Authority fears an "economic blockade" which will harm the West Bank government's ability to continue building institutions for the future state.

According to the report, the plan to delay the UN move comes in light of the Palestinian leadership's little faith that Arab states will follow through on their promises to supply them with financial aid following a possible U.S. decision to stop assistance.

Erekat said Tuesday that there is no conflict between the PA's efforts to seek international recognition of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and efforts to renew peace talks with Israel.