Fayyad: a Sovereign, not Mickey Mouse, state

AFP, Sunday 19 Dec 2010

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says Palestinians want an independent and sovereign state

Salam Fayyad
Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad said his plan to build the institutions of statehood by August 2011 is on track. (AFP)

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has said a unilateral declaration of independence by his people would only lead to a "Mickey Mouse state" as long as Israel remains the occupying power.

In an interview with Israel's Channel Two television, recorded in Washington and broadcasted on Saturday, he was asked to pledge that Palestinians would not unilaterally declare independence in 2011, the year he has set as a target, even if they do not reach a peace deal with Israel.

"What we're looking for... is a state of Palestine, we're not looking for yet another declaration of statehood," he said.

Fayyad, a US-educated former World Bank economist well regarded by the international community, said his plan to build the institutions of statehood by August 2011 is well on track, but sovereignty depends on Israeli assent.

"The reality of the state may be there in terms of the functional institutions of the state, but if the Israeli army is still in our territory that's not a sovereign state, that's a Mickey Mouse state," he said.

"We're not looking for a Mickey Mouse state, we're not looking for some form of self-rule, we're looking for a sovereign state of Palestine where we Palestinians can live as free people," Fayyad added.

Palestinians have repeatedly said they will unilaterally declare a state or ask for UN recognition of their independence, out of frustration with so far ineffective US efforts to relaunch peace negotiations with Israel.

Bolivia on Friday joined Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in recognising Palestine as "an independent and sovereign state" within the borders preceding Israel's 1967 occupation.

Israel opposes the steps by the South American governments, saying they go against an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that a Palestinian state be recognised only with Israeli approval.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives approved a measure condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognise a Palestinian state, and backing a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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