Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Abbas to make UN statehood bid

Mahmoud Abbas said he would seek UN Security Council endorsement for Palestinian statehood (AP)

The Palestinian president is to ask the UN Security Council next week to endorse his statehood bid, a step that would risk a threatened US veto in the council.

But in a speech to the Palestinian people before leaving for New York, President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to leave himself some wiggle room, saying he did not rule out other, unspecified options.

He also acknowledged that his UN move would not end the Israeli occupation and cautioned against overblown hopes.

"We don't want to raise expectations by saying we are going to come back with full independence," Abbas said in an address to Palestinian leaders.

He said he was going to the United Nations to "ask the world to shoulder its responsibilities" by backing the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

He urged the Palestinian people to refrain from violence, saying "anything other than peaceful moves will harm us and sabotage our endeavours."

Israel - and Washington - oppose the Palestinians' quest for UN backing, saying the only way to deliver a Palestinian state is through negotiations.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Thursday that Abbas would submit his statehood bid to UN chief Ban Ki-moon after addressing the UN General Assembly on September 23.

The Palestinians hope the UN move will give them greater leverage in future negotiations with Israel by elevating their international profile and giving them access to world bodies like the International Criminal Court.

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