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Abbas defends statehood in letter to Obama

Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas defended Palestine's decision to seek United Nations membership in a letter to President Obama Tuesday.

The letter, pushing to upgrade Palestine's status, reiterated Abbas' commitment to a two-state solution with Israel and stressed the bid for formal statehood would "solidify the right of the Palestinian people to their land, which is under occupation, and not disputed territories," Abbas' political adviser Nimer Hammad said.

Hammad added the letter to Obama was meant as a reassurance the request for statehood and non-member United Nations status was not aimed at isolating Israel, but achievement of international recognition of a Palestinian state would pave the way for the resumption of stalled peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority, Abbas said in the letter, would resume peace talks after obtaining U.N. recognition.

Most European Union countries have also been contacted by the Palestinian Authority to persuade them to vote in favor of statehood, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote Nov. 29 on the application for non-member status.

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