The Palestinian Authority is pulling out all the stops in their bid for United Nations statehood recognition on Sept. 20 -- including using President Barack Obama's own words, Reuters reported Wednesday.
A new 36-second radio ad to drum up support for the statehood campaign features a clip from Obama's speech to the 2010 U.N. General Assembly, in which he alluded to the possibility of a Palestinian state being able to join the international body "next year."
"When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel," Obama said in his 2010 speech to the U.N.
Obama's words were couched in terms of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and U.S. officials sought to downplay the statement at the time as simply an expression of hope.
He had prefaced the statement saying:
"This time, we should draw upon the teachings of tolerance that lie at the heart of three great religions that see Jerusalem’s soil as sacred. This time we should reach for what’s best within ourselves."
Still, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is calling it the "Obama promise" in the radio spot.
"If he said it, he must have meant it," Abbas tells listeners.
In addition to Obama's words, the ad features speech excerpts from the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
"We are reminding [Obama] of what he said in the United Nations in 2010," said Ahmad Zaki ElAreedi, director of Voice of Palestine radio, one of the Palestinian Authority-run institutions broadcasting the campaign.
The United States opposes the Palestinians' campaign for a unilateral declaration of statehood without going through peace talks with Israel, and has said it would veto the bid in the U.N. Security Council. Over the weekend, reports surfaced that U.S. officials are actively trying to appeal to the Palestinians not to go through with the vote, including holding direct talks with Abbas Wednesday.
Earlier this month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for European consensus on the statehood issue.