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Abbas aide denies UN delay report

Nov. 10, 2012 11:01 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 11, 2012 3:19 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli media reported Saturday that senior Palestinian officials had indicated willingness to postpone a bid to upgrade Palestine's status at the United Nations.

Israel's Ynet news site said President Mahmoud Abbas was considering delaying the bid until January to give his US counterpart Barack Obama time to formulate a new peace initiative.

President Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina dismissed the report.

“It’s for sure that the decision has been made and there is no going back. We will go to the UN to demand a state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.

Meanwhile a draft United Nations resolution asking the General Assembly to upgrade Palestine's status in the world body has been distributed to 192 states but not Israel.

PLO sources say the draft is being discussed as the basis for the resolution which will seek to upgrade Palestine's status to an "observer" state similar to the Vatican.

A meeting of an Arab League committee which is going to be held in Cairo will determine the date of voting regarding the draft resolution, the sources say.

If approved, the resolution would "accord to Palestine Observer State status in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people."

The Palestinians are currently considered an observer "entity" at the United Nations. Acceptance of the Palestinians as a non-member state, similar to the Vatican's UN status, would implicitly recognize Palestinian statehood.

The upgrade could also grant the Palestinians access to bodies like the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file complaints against Israel.

The status upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians. Palestinian diplomats also are courting European countries to further burnish their case.

Palestinian officials said last month they can count on around 115 "yes" votes in the General Assembly, mostly from Arab, African, Latin American and Asian states, and expect around 22 "no" votes, led by the United States, as well as 56 abstentions.

In October the PLO began distributing a position paper to European governments detailing the plans to seek an upgrade of Palestine's status at the UN.

In the document, the PLO emphasizes that membership in the UN is no substitute for negotiations with Israel. But it says Palestine's right to self-determination does not require Israeli approval.

The text underscores concerns about how the United States and Israel will respond if the UN bid succeeds, and it asks European countries not to go along with possible sanctions.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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