BRUSSELS - Envoys from the quartet of Middle East negotiators will meet
on Sunday in a last-ditch push to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace
talks and avert a showdown over Palestinian statehood at the UN, an EU
diplomat said on Saturday.
The meeting in New York will come two
days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would demand full membership
of the United Nations for a Palestinian state when he goes to the UN
General Assembly next week, setting up a diplomatic clash with Israel
and the United States.
Abbas: We're going to the UN to demand full membership
"Envoys are meeting on Sunday in New York," the diplomat said.
efforts of the quartet- which groups the European Union, the United
States, Russia and the UN - are part of an intense international
diplomatic push in recent weeks aimed at persuading the Palestinians to
drop their UN plans.
Washington and Israel say a UN vote over
Palestinian statehood would damage chances for peace negotiations,
arguing that a state can only be created through a settlement between
the two sides.
The EU, in addition to such concerns, is also
facing potential embarrassment at the international forum if a vote
splits its 27 members into three camps - those backing the bid, those
opposing it and a possible group of states abstaining.
to Abbas's intentions, a spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief
Catherine Ashton said the EU has yet to decide how to act at the UN.
"The next days are crucial," spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said. "It is
for Palestinians to decide on next steps but we continue to believe that
a constructive solution that can gather as much support as possible and
allows for the resumption of negotiations is the best and only way to
deliver the peace and two state solution the Palestinian people want."
"We will redouble our efforts together with our partners in the quartet
to launch negotiations between the parties as soon as possible. This
remains the only way to end the conflict," Kocijancic said.
In a televised speech on Friday, Abbas said he would request the
Palestinians' "legitimate right, obtaining full membership for