PA negotiator says “we may see UN recognition of Palestinian state 14Nov09 November 15, 2009

by Avi Issacharoff  -  Haaretz -  14 November 2009


The Palestinian Authority is considering seeking recognition from the United Nations Security Council of a Palestinian state along 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, senior negotiator Saeb Erekat told Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam in a report published Saturday.

Erekat said that the Palestinian Authority has already received support for the idea from other Arab states and added that Russia and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have also apparently expressed support for the plan.

Erekat also said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to garner additional support for the proposal during his current visit to South American countries.

The U.S. said it would not pressure Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks unless both sides are ready, senior U.S. officials were quoted as saying in a report published Saturday by London-based Arabic-language newspaper A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

“The U.S. will not back down from its policy that refuses to negotiate over negotiations,” one official was quoted as saying, adding that Washington won’t pressure the two sides into direct talks for fear that they will fail.

Another official told the newspaper that U.S. envoy George Mitchell continues to lay the groundwork for peace talks in the Middle East, which the official said are of utmost importance to the Obama administration.

“No one expects results overnight,” said the official. “We don’t want to press for negotiations before all sides are ready.”

The U.S. earlier in the week said it does not accept continued Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, a senior U.S. state department official said, adding that Jerusalem’s commitment to restrain settlement activity is not enough.

In an address to the Middle East Institute, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns on Tuesday said that the Obama administration does not “accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”

“We consider the Israeli offer to restrain settlement activity to be a potentially important step, but it obviously falls short of the continuing Roadmap obligation for a full settlement freeze,” he said.

Palestinian officials had said in talks with U.S. diplomats earlier this week in Ramallah that nothing short of an Israeli commitment to a complete settlement freeze would bring Abbas to reconsider his recently made threats of resignation.

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