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MIDDLE EAST

Palestine to seek UN non-state membership amid opposition

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 3:52am
 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) will present its bid for non-state UN membership, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said, despite opposition from the United States and Israel.

Following talks with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo, "it has been agreed that the request will be presented on November 29", Abbas said on Monday, calling for support from Arab states.

US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation on Sunday that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative, and Israeli officials have threatened punitive measures if the Palestinians go ahead with the bid.

"We don't want any confrontations with the United States or Israel. If we could start a dialogue or negotiations the day after the vote, we will," the Palestinian leader said.

"We know we are a country under occupation, but we want our land which was occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. Israel says Palestinian lands are disputed and open to negotiation, and is hurrying to build settlements, covering Jerusalem with settlements," Abbas said.

Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said the bid had been delayed at Washington's request until after last week's US presidential election.

"Now there is no excuse for anybody to ask us not to go to the United Nations," Shtayeh said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman pledged to "ensure the collapse" of the PA.

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