Palestinian President Abbas ‘would accept’ UN upgrade

June 9, 2012

BBC News

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says he is ready to accept “non-member state” status at the United Nations, if Israel does not resume peace talks.

He made the comments as French President Francois Hollande lent his support to Palestinian aims for UN state recognition.

Last September the Palestinian bid for full member status fell apart when the United States said it would veto it.

Security Council backing is required for bids for full UN membership.

Israel is strongly opposed to any Palestinian bid for UN state recognition and has lobbied against it.

Israel fears Palestinian efforts for higher status at the UN are part of a plan to delegitimise the state of Israel.

Mr Abbas told a news conference in Paris that if Israel decided not to restart negotiations, “we will of course go to the (UN) General Assembly to obtain non-member status”.

French backing

Mr Hollande, whose recent election has reversed French policy towards Palestinian ambitions at the UN, backed Mr Abbas’s aims.

“Today, we must do everything to facilitate the recognition of a Palestinian state via a negotiated process,” Mr Hollande said at the same news conference.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in late 2010 when Palestinians walked out in protest at the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Currently, Palestinians have “observer” status at the UN, without voting rights.

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