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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate about his opposition to the decision of the Palestinian Authority to seek a declaration of statehood by the United Nations.  Barrasso’s speech previews the start of the 66th  session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which is set to begin Tuesday, September 13th .  

Excerpts of his remarks are below:

“Over the last several months, Palestinian Authority President Abbas has repeatedly voiced his intention to formally request statehood recognition and full membership in the United Nations.

“In July, the Arab league endorsed this irresponsible ploy.  Regrettably, President Abbas intends to make the formal request during this session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“I oppose the decision of the Palestinian Authority to seek a declaration of statehood by the United Nations.

“The unilateral action of the Palestinian Authority is intended to circumvent the peace process.  It is not a good faith effort to achieve peace in the Middle East but to me rather it is a political maneuver.

“Instead of embarking on the time consuming campaign to gain support in the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian leadership should be working directly with Israel on creating a real and sustainable peace agreement.

“The quest for recognition by the United Nations is part of a terrible, emerging trend from the Palestinian Authority.  The Palestinian Authority continues to engage in troubling behavior that is contrary to peace.

“On May 4th, the Palestinian Authority reached an agreement with the terrorist group Hamas to create a unity government.  It is outrageous that the Palestinian Authority would be willing to unite with a known terrorist group who is infamously recognized for their destructive acts of violence.

“It is also important to note that the agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority does not require Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to accept the previous Israel-Palestinian agreements, or to renounce terrorism.

“It is apparent that there is no path to a peaceful resolution when part of the Palestinian unity government is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

“Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable for the United State’s assistance to go to the Palestinian Authority when it includes Hamas.  The Palestinian Authority received approximately $500 million in U.S. foreign assistance in Fiscal Year 2010.

“Hard earned U.S. taxpayer funds must not be funneled into the pockets of terrorists.  As the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations, the United States contributed almost $7.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 to the United Nations System.

“The United States should not be providing funding for an international institution that circumvents an established peace process and threatens the security of our allies.

“The United States and Israel share a long and a deep alliance.  Israel is a friend, ally, and a strategic partner to the United States. 

“Throughout Israel’s history, the country has worked to build a democratic nation in the face of severe obstacles.  Israel is a shining example of democracy in the Middle East.  As Israel faces real danger from its neighbors, the people of Israel continue to show great strength and perseverance as they seek peace.

“The United States has been clear that we will use veto power in the United Nations Security Council to block any attempt by the Palestinians for state recognition or United Nations membership.

“The Obama Administration must use all of its resources to block similar actions in the General Assembly and other United Nations organizations.

“President Obama and Secretary Clinton must press the Palestinian Authority to abandon its erroneous decision and return to the negotiating table with Israel.

“Nations must stand together to decry the attempt to circumvent direct peace process negotiations.

“Today, I call on Congress to terminate funding assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

“And I believe Congress must also evaluate and significantly cut funding to the United Nations if a change to the status of the Palestinian Authority is approved by the General Assembly.”