Abbas tells Ashton: Ready to negotiate after UN bid 26Oct12 October 26, 2012

Ma’an News Agency   -   25 October 2012

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday that his UN bid aims to preserve the two-state solution, official media reported.

At a meeting in Ramallah during Ashton’s tour of the region, Abbas assured her he was ready to negotiate with Israel after the bid to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN General Assembly next month.

The two state solution is disappearing as Israel persists with settlement-building and ignoring international resolutions, Abbas warned, according to PA news agency Wafa.

Ashton assured the president of the EU’s support for the two-state solution as the basis for resolving the conflict.

On Wednesday, Ashton met with Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who threatened “difficult and far-reaching consequences” if Abbas proceeds with the bid.

Lieberman has repeatedly criticized Abbas’ refusal to negotiate with Israel until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to freeze settlements. Lieberman is a settler.

If the UN bid succeeds, Palestine’s “observer entity” status would change to “observer state”, granting access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinians need a simple majority for the upgrade, but predict that between 150 and 170 nations will vote in favor.

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