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Clegg: Palestine UN bid 'difficult'

Britain faces a "difficult judgment" over whether to back Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, Nick Clegg said, amid reports of a coalition split on the issue.

The Deputy Prime Minister said there had been "debates" at the top of Government over the position to adopt but said it would be unhelpful to air them in public.

Diplomatic efforts are under way to persuade Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas not to table a Security Council statehood bid - which is opposed by the US and Israel.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered fresh talks in a bid to find another means to revive the peace process which has been stalled for more than a year.

The White House has signalled it would veto the move, raising fears of a tense showdown as senior politicians gather in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting.

Mr Clegg, said by The Times to be pushing for firmer support for the move against a more reluctant Prime Minister David Cameron, said the consequences of inaction had to be properly considered.

"We have debates, of course we do, in Government," he told BBC News from Birmingham where the Liberal Democrats are holding their autumn conference.

"The senior members of the Government on an issue like this - the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister and myself - we talk about this a lot.

"But we do it as a Government. I do not think it helps at all on issues like that for there to be a running commentary on who says what."


From Belfast Telegraph