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PLO: US veto of Fayyad ‘blatant discrimination’

Salam Fayyad

JEDDAH: The US decision to block the appointment of Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to Libya has been dubbed “blatant discrimination” by a top Palestinian official.
Donald Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley said she did not support the appointment of Fayyad, a former Palestinian prime minister, to the role.
“For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” said the US ambassador.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), rejected the move by the US.
“This is a blatant discrimination on nationality basis and we absolutely reject it. We call on the (US President Donald) Trump administration to immediately reconsider their decision,” Erekat told Arab News over the phone on Saturday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday defended his choice of Fayyad as UN peace envoy to Libya after the US blocked the appointment.
The decision to put forward his candidacy “was solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country,” he said.
Erekat said that Fayyad is a “very qualified figure.”
“The UN secretary-general chose him for the designated position... based on his high qualifications. For the Americans to block his appointment only because he is Palestinian is sheer discrimination against Palestinians,” Erekat said.
“The US veto seriously indicates that the US political compass diverts from the right path when it comes to taking decisions that affect international norms and practices.
“For us, it is a source of pride that Salam Fayyad was nominated for this position especially that it was coming from the most important international entity, the UN. We call on our brotherly countries to support the Palestinian demand from the US to immediately reconsider its position.
“Fayyad’s nomination has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli struggle or the Palestinian cause.”

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