U.S. to veto Palestinian statehood bid

Sept. 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he plans to go ahead with a bid for statehood despite the Obama administration's pledge to veto it.

Politico reported the Obama administration, which has expressed opposition to a unilateral Palestinian bid to seek statehood, said for the first time it would use its veto power on the U.N. Security Council.

Responding to the announcement, Abbas told reporters Thursday, "To be frank with you, (administration officials) came too late."

He said they have "wasted all the time" since the beginning of the year but failed to come up with concrete proposals.

The Palestinian government is expected to ask for a Security Council vote Sept. 19 and if the United States vetoes the bid may seek recognition in the full General Assembly. The assembly can't grant sovereign state status but can upgrade the Palestinian government from "observer" to "non-member state," which would pave the way for Palestinians to join U.N. bodies and pursue claims against Israel in the International Criminal Court, Politico said.

Israel also opposes a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood and has offered to return to negotiations with the Palestinians.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Friday U.S. officials had warned Abbas moving forward with the statehood bid would hurt relations with the United States.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday called Palestinian statehood "long overdue" but said member states should decide whether to grant it.

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