Abbas says US has the power to stop UN statehood bid

Palestinian Authority president expresses desire to return to negotiations but remains firm on Jerusalem; calls United Nations move a final resort; says "armed struggle is destroying us."

Mahmoud Abbas_521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mahmoud Abbas_521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday night said that the United States has the power to stop the Palestinians from taking their bid for a state to the United Nations in September. His comments came in an interview with the Lebanese television station LBC.
"I don't know if the United States has other options," he said, "but if they put them in our hands, we will not go to the UN," he said.
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During the interview, Abbas said he believed that of the 192 voting nations in the UN, 116 are currently ready to recognize a Palestinian state. However, he said, if the United States was able to bring a return to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the bid could possibly be reconsidered.
Referring to the current deadlock that has prevented the very negotiations he said he aspires to, Abbas listed borders and security as the two major sticking points. Above all, however, was the status of Jerusalem, an issue about which Abbas appeared intractable.
"If Jerusalem will not be the capital of Palestine," he said, "there will be no state at all."
Abbas said he only met with Netanyahu three times in the past two years, which amounted to only about fifteen hours of direct conversation between the two men. He also told LBC that he did not plan for a third term as Palestinian Authority president when expected elections are held next May.
As for the possibility of a third Intifada should both negotiations and the UN bid fail, Abbas dismissed the idea. "Armed struggle is destroying us," he said of the Palestinians.