Abbas defiant on UN bid

Abbas defiant on UN bid

Abbas spoke to reporters en route to New York, where he is to seek UN membership for “Palestine” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War. The US and Israel oppose Abbas’ bid, saying a state can be established only through negotiations.

Abbas has said that negotiations remain his preference, but that they must be based on the pre-1967 war lines and include a halt of all Israeli settlement construction on occupied land.

Two demands

Abbas said on Monday that even if Israel were to agree to those two demands, “we will go to the UN because there is no contradiction between negotiations and going to the UN.”

Officials from the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations — have been holding talks in recent days in hopes of persuading the Palestinians to drop the UN bid and instead resume peace talks with Israel.

Another Quartet meeting was planned for Monday, officials said, and­ foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton might present more ideas to Abbas later in the day.

The Palestinian leader said, “Last week, there was tremendous pressure to return to negotiations on a new basis,” but that the proposals for a new framework for talks were unacceptable.

Full UN membership can only be bestowed by the UN Security Council, where the recognition bid could be derailed if fewer than nine of the 15 members vote in favour or if the US uses its veto, as it said it would.

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