'Palestinians set date for statehood showdown at UN'

September 20 marked for Palestinian UN statehood bid, AFP reports; PA foreign minister says Abbas “will insist on this historic initiative and Ban Ki-moon will present the request to the Security Council.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly 311 (B (photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly 311 (B
(photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
NEW YORK - The Palestinians set September 20th as the date for the much-anticipated vote over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, according to AFP.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the international community to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state on the first day of the annual opening gathering at UN headquarters in New York.
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“Abbas will personally present the request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon... at the opening of the sixty-sixth session," he was quoted as saying by the French news wire. “[Abbas] will insist on this historic initiative and Ban Ki-moon will present the request to the Security Council.”
The announcement cast aside speculation that the Palestinians might quietly step back from their bid for statehood in response to mounting international pressure against it.
Israel adamantly opposes the Palestinian move saying a unilateral declaration of independence would be detrimental to the peace process.
In recent months it has been engaged in extensive diplomatic efforts to prevent a confrontation with Palestinians at the UN over statehood. The US has publicly said it would oppose such a vote in the Security Council and independent observers like the New York Times