US expresses opposition to discussing settlements in UNSC

State Department spokesman says “final status issues can only be resolved” through direct negotiations, after PA prepares draft resolution asking UNSC to declare settlements illegal.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
December 29, 2010 20:49
2 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

Abbas UN 311. (photo credit: Bloomberg)

The US State Department indicated its opposition to the effort to bring the issue of Israeli settlements before the UN Security Council Wednesday and stressed that final status issues should be resolved through negotiations.

“We have consistently opposed taking these kinds of issues to the UN Security Council,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing, though he declined to specify whether the US would actually veto a resolution should it be voted on.

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Toner emphasized that “final status issues can only be resolved” through direct negotiations rather than a UN vote, a long-standing US position.

However, he also reiterated America’s continued opposition to Israeli settlements.

“We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity,” Toner stated, labeling such continued construction “corrosive to our peace efforts” as well as Israel’s future.

The draft resolution prepared by the Palestinian Authority will ask the UN Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal and call for a full freeze in their construction.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft on Wednesday. It calls settlements a "major obstacle to the achievement of peace." It does not, however, call for sanctions against Israel, and urges both sides to continue negotiations toward a final peace agreement.

The draft resolution reaffirms Palestinian claims that "Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace..."

Additionally, the document demands that Israel "immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard..."

It also calls for an "intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

With US-backed peace efforts deadlocked for more than three months, the Palestinians are pressing forward with the resolution as part of a broader effort to step up international pressure on Israel.


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