Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obama says U.S. administration against Palestinian U.N. move

Obama says U.S. administration against Palestinian U.N. move
By Al Arabiya with agencies

U.S. President Barack Obama told Mahmud Abbas on Sunday that his administration opposes a Palestinian bid for non-state membership of the U.N., the Palestinian leader’s spokesman said.

“There was a long telephone conversation between president Mahmud Abbas and Barack Obama,” Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP. “Obama expressed the opposition of the United States to the decision to go to the U.N. General Assembly.”

Abbas explained “the reasons and motives for the Palestinian decision to go to the United Nations ... including the continued (Jewish) settlement activity and Israeli aggression against citizens and property,” Abu Rudeina said.

Israel and the United States are both opposed to the Palestinian plan, insisting that a Palestinian state can only result from peace negotiations, which have been suspended for the past two years.

On Tuesday, Israel said that it was preparing to counter a Palestinian bid for enhanced U.N. status later this month, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

The comments came as Israel’s private Channel 10 reported that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last month pledged to ensure the “collapse” of the Palestinian Authority if the bid for non-member status at the General Assembly goes forward.

“Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman convened Israel’s 27 ambassadors in Europe for an urgent meeting this week in Vienna,” to discuss the Palestinian bid, foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

“The ambassadors will seek to define a diplomatic course with the Europeans intended to counter this initiative and to this end Lieberman will go to Vienna,” he added.

The draft resolution, which could be put to a vote in the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly, also reiterates the Palestinian Authority's commitment to the “two-state solution” in which Israel and an independent Palestinian state would co-exist in peace.

If approved, the resolution would “accord to Palestine Observer State status in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people,” according to a draft obtained by Reuters.