(photo credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he expects a "very difficult" situation in the aftermath of the PA's bid to gain recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations later this week, according to an AFP report.
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“The Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the Palestinian approach to the United Nations through the Security Council to seek full membership for the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Abbas told reporters traveling with him to New York.
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Abbas added that he had faced international pressure to forgo the statehood gambit.
A last-ditch international push began in New York on Sunday to try to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and avert a crisis over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations as members of the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators met in New York.
Officials met two days after Abbas said he would demand full membership
of the world body for a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly
this week, setting up a diplomatic clash with Israel and the United
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton. Asked before the meeting if either could report
any progress, Clinton replied, "We are meeting to talk about the way
forward." Asked if that meant no progress, she said, "I didn't say
Senior diplomats from the United States, Russia, the European Union and
the United Nations - the Quartet - met on Sunday, an EU official said,
as part of an intense effort in recent weeks to persuade the
Palestinians to drop their UN plans.
The official said the diplomats were assessing the situation, but gave no further details.
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.
But in a televised speech on Friday, Abbas said he would request the
Palestinians' "legitimate right, obtaining full membership for
Palestine." The Palestinians say almost 20 years of on-off direct talks
on statehood envisaged by interim peace accords have hit a dead end.
The United States says it will veto in the Security Council a
Palestinian application for full UN membership, but former British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, who serves an an envoy for the Quartet, said on
Sunday a showdown could still be averted.
Blair told reporters, "The Palestinians are here at the UN now, so the
question is ... can people find a way that enables the Palestinians to
take a significant step forward to statehood at the same time as not
ending up in a situation where the UN replaces negotiations?"