Palestine presents UN bid
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has announced the Palestinian Authority will present its bid for non-state UN membership, despite US and Israeli opposition.
Following talks with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo, ‘it has been agreed that the request will be presented on November 29′, Abbas told reporters on Monday, calling for support from Arab states.
US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation on Sunday that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, and Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinians go ahead with the bid.
‘We don’t want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will,’ the Palestinian leader said.
‘We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. Israel says Palestinian lands are disputed and open to negotiation, and is hurrying to build settlements, covering Jerusalem with settlements,’ Abbas said.
He met earlier on Monday in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah, before travelling to Cairo for an Arab League meeting.
Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh told a news conference in the West Bank town of Ramallah that the bid had been delayed at Washington’s request until after last week’s US presidential election.
‘Now there is no excuse for anybody to ask us not to go to the United Nations,’ Shtayeh said.
‘President Abbas will attend the Assembly General session for the vote,’ his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, told AFP.
Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinian initiative goes ahead, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman pledging to ‘ensure the collapse’ of Abbas’s Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).
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