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Shaath: UN bid to go ahead 'despite US threats'

Aug. 27, 2011 4:51 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2011 5:23 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian leadership will submit a bid for full membership of the United Nations despite US threats, senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said Saturday.

President Mahmoud Abbas dispatched Shaath to Moscow to hold talks with Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov and the director of the foreign ministry's Middle East department Sergei Vershinin.

Shaath met with the officials on Saturday and told Moscow News that the talks were "very positive."

“Moscow realizes how important it is to us that a Palestinian state becomes recognized by the UN."

Veshinin will visit Ramallah soon and Abbas will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavarov in New York in September before he addresses the United Nations to seek statehood recognition, Shaath said.

Following the collapse of negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians are pursuing a diplomatic strategy to seek statehood recognition and full membership of the United Nations in September.

Israel and the US strongly oppose the UN campaign.

Shaath said the US and Israeli position violated all signed agreements.

"Washington's attitude reflects complete partiality with Israel," he said.

According to the office of PLO official Saeb Erekat, consul-general Daniel Rubinstein threatened that the US Congress would take punitive measures, "including cutting US aid," if the Palestinians tried to upgrade their position at the UN.

The US consulate in Jerusalem denied Erekat's account of the meeting in Jericho on Friday and said Rubinstein did not make the comments attributed to him.

Asked about the alleged threats, Shaath said Washington's stance was "shameful."

He said President Barack Obama's administration had been "blackmailed" by American lawmakers and retracted its pledges and commitments to the Palestinians.

But Palestinian leaders are not influenced by the threats and wll pursue the campaign as planned, he added.
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