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Report: Abbas knows UN won't recognize state

June 4, 2011 7:54 P.M. (Updated: June 5, 2011 6:30 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has concluded that a statehood push at the United Nations will not advance the Palestinians' cause, a senior Palestinian official reportedly said Saturday.

The official told The Associated Press that Abbas' initiative will be compromised by the fact that the Palestinians first have to seek support from the Security Council before going to the General Assembly.

Ramallah has concluded the most they could wrest from the General Assembly would be a non-binding affirmation of previous resolutions saying the Palestinians have the right to a state, he was quoted as saying.

According to the report, the official spoke on condition of anonymity because the PLO intends to go ahead with its plan to approach the UN, in order to save face among the Palestinian people.

A member of the PLO negotiating team, however, denied the report saying some of the world's most important international lawyers are backing the initiative and the Palestinians are hopeful they will succeed.

"President Abbas knows getting recognition will be difficult, which is something quite different," the official said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

"This is because of what the Americans are doing. They're intensively lobbying their allies around the world against recognition at the United Nations," the PLO official told Ma'an.

Former PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, said the Palestinians would "continue our diplomatic effort to gain international recognition for our state on the 1967 borders."

"We will use every peaceful means available to us to achieve our rights. We hope to see the fruits of our labor this September with the admission into the UN of the State of Palestine," he said.

Also Saturday, in an interview with Reuters, Abbas said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's proposal to host a peace conference in Paris in July offered a chance to resume talks.

The last round of negotiations broke down in September over Israel's refusal to renew a partial freeze on illegal Jewish-only settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

On Thursday, Juppe said the current stalemate was "untenable" and said France was willing to transform a scheduled meeting of international donors into a broader peace conference.

"We would be prepared, on the basis of a request by the [Mideast] Quartet, to organize in Paris ... before the end of July, a conference that would not be simply for the donors but a broader political conference involving the negotiation process," Juppe said after a meeting with Prime Minister in Ramallah Salam Fayyad.

Fayyad welcomed the idea but Israel has yet to make a formal response.

Abbas told Reuters the initiative offered a chance to resume talks but if negotiations did not resume, Palestinians would go to the UN to seek recognition of a Palestinian state.

"We can't guarantee the outcome, but we will do our best. However, if the world's super powers oppose us, we will consult our leadership over the coming stage."

Obama has urged the Palestinians not to approach the UN.

In a Middle East policy speech in May, the US president described the move as an attempt to isolate Israel, and said it would not create an independent state.
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