U.K. on fence on Palestinian resolution

Nov. 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM
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LONDON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The British government said it called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold back on pressing for more recognition at the U.N. General Assembly.

Palestinian leaders are seeking to upgrade their status at the U.N. General Assembly by moving a resolution that could be voted on as early as Thursday. Last year, representatives from the territories made a unilateral bid for statehood before the world body.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government asked Abbas to hold off on his resolution in a light of what he said was the "overriding need" for talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"Our view was that it would be better to give the U.S. administration the opportunity to set out a new initiative," he said in a statement. "We pointed out that a U.N. resolution would be depicted by some as a move away from bilateral negotiations with Israel."

The U.S. and Israeli governments have said they would formally oppose any Palestinian move at the U.N. General Assembly. Bloomberg News reports the German government won't vote for the Palestinian resolution, though the Spanish government has spoken in its favor.

Hague, however, said he respected any decision by Abbas to press ahead with his efforts at the United Nations.

London said it was open to voting in favor of the resolution should the Palestinian side move in favor of negotiations with Israel and give up efforts to turn to the international courts on activities in the region.

"Up until the time of the vote itself we will remain open to voting in favor of the resolution, if we see public assurances by the Palestinians on these points," he said.

"However in the absence of these assurances, the United Kingdom would abstain on the vote."

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