Abbas says U.S. can stop statehood bid

June 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, June 21 (UPI) -- The United States can stop the Palestinian Authority from unilaterally seeking U.N. statehood recognition, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

In an interview on LBC Lebanese television Monday, Abbas said the Palestinians would be willing to forgo statehood recognition at the United Nations if the U.S. administration offers a solution to overcome the impasse in talks with Israel.

"I don't know if the U.S. has another solution, but if it does, we will not go to the U.N.," quoted the Palestinian leader as saying.

The two main issues that have created the current impasse in talks with Israel relate to borders and security, he said. All the other issues can be solved, Abbas said.

Abbas said 116 of the 195 member states of the U.N. General Assembly are willing to recognize an independent Palestinian state.

The failure to advance peace talks with Israel is not the only obstacle faced by the Palestinian leader. His Fatah faction and Hamas are deadlocked over forming a unity government.

Abbas noted he has the right to choose the next prime minister and named Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister, as his candidate, said.

An unnamed source close to Fayyad told Ma'an news agency the prime minister will refuse to head the new unity government if asked, despite saying publicly he will accept whatever decision Fatah and Hamas make.

"Hamas will not agree on Salam Fayyad as a prime minister, or even a minister in the upcoming unity government," Salah al-Bardawi, a senior Hamas official said in a statement released to the news agency.

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