Palestinian President Abbas’ announced intention to join the Universal Postal Union could force the U.S. to pull out of the body, except that it has already served notice a month ago.

U.S. laws dating to the early 1990s require the American government to cut off funding to any UN organization that grants the Palestinians full membership

However, notice was already filed last month when on October 17, 2018 the UN specialized agency received a letter from Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo: “This letter constitutes notification by the Government of the United States of America that it hereby denounces the UPU Constitution and, thereby, withdraws from the Universal Postal Union.” Withdrawal “shall be effective one year after the day on which you receive this notice…”

UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said he “regrets the decision and will seek to meet representatives of the Government of the United States of America to further discuss the matter.”

However, the UPU’s Hussein struck a more proactive tone the next week when he stated in an interview that the UPU commissioned a report on reforming rates and expressed optimism that a negotiated agreement could be reached by April 2019. “Whether the UPU can reach an agreement that will satisfy the Trump administration will depend on how China and other UPU member states benefiting from the current system approach these negotiations,” writes the Lawfare blog.

In announcing the move, the White House stated that over the one-year withdrawal process, the U.S. would “seek to negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements that resolve the problems discussed in the Presidential Memorandum.  If negotiations are successful, the Administration is prepared to rescind the notice of withdrawal and remain in the UPU.”

 

 

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