Abbas Seeks UN Statehood for Palestinian Territory

Posted November 29th, 2012 at 5:20 am (UTC-5)
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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is going to the U.N. General Assembly Thursday with huge support for his bid to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority from an entity to a non-member state.

The General Assembly will vote on the mesaure that is opposed by the United States and Israel.

About 60 countries are co-sponsoring the resolution, and Mr. Abbas is expected to obtain a required simple majority of the U.N.'s 193 member states. The status would allow Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court, where they could ask the prosecutor to investigate Israel's actions in their territories.

But granting Palestinians the title of “non-member observer state'' falls short of full U.N. membership, something they failed to achieve last year.

On Wednesday, Spain, Denmark and Switzerland announced their intentions to vote in favor of the motion. France announced its support Tuesday. Russia and China have also indicated they will support the Palestinian request.

Several other countries, including Germany, say they will not support the Palestinian bid. The United States says the only road to statehood for the Palestinians is through direct negotiations with Israel.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale met Wednesday with President Abbas in New York to repeat Washington's concerns and urged him to reconsider.

“The deputy secretary also reiterated that no one should be under any illusion that this resolution is going to produce the results that the Palestinians claim to seek,”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers Britain would consider embracing the request, but only if the Palestinian Authority could give him some key assurances – including pledges to return to negotiations with Israel and to not pursue its grievances with Israel in international courts.