By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received a supportive nod from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who on Sunday praised the Palestinian leader's engagement with UN member states regarding the Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead, and told him he was a credible partner for peace.
The two men spoke by phone, as Abbas faces growing criticism from Palestinians and the Arab world for his decision earlier this month to defer a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the Goldstone Commission's report, which denounces Israel's military action in Gaza.
On the same day that Abbas reversed his decision and called for the council to hold a special session on the report, Ban spoke with him about the report as well as the recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in east Jerusalem, according to his spokeswoman Michele Montas.
Ban "also expressed his support for President Abbas's engagement with member states on a proper process for the consideration of the Goldstone Report," said Montas.
She added that Ban would disclose his views on the report while it stands before UN bodies.
In a televised address on Sunday, Abbas called on the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session to endorse the Goldstone Report.
"I gave instructions to our envoy to hold an extraordinary meeting of the Human Rights Council to vote on the resolution, in order to punish all those who committed the most brutal crimes against our children and women in Gaza," Abbas said.
The call for a special session marked a sudden turnaround from Abbas's stance at the start of the month, when he agreed to defer until March the council's vote on endorsing the report.
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