Berlin aims to avert 'confrontation' over Palestinian UN bid

19th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany said Monday it aimed to head off a dangerous "confrontation" at the United Nations this week as the Palestinians press for membership of the world body.

"Our goal is to avoid a confrontation in New York, a confrontation that could have unforeseeable, incalculable consequences for peace and stability in the Middle East," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

"We must work toward the resumption of peace talks," he told a regular news briefing.

Germany holds a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Seibert said that Chancellor Angela Merkel laid out Germany's position to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a phone call over the weekend as well as to the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"At the end of a negotiation process, we hope there will be a two-state solution with an Israeli state and an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state," he said

As Abbas arrived in New York Monday, he admitted he has been under international pressure over the UN membership bid, which is strongly opposed by Israel and the United States and has split the European Union.

Germany and other opponents argue that the Palestinian drive could torpedo any hopes to resume peace talks with Israel.

For the membership request to be passed to the General Assembly for approval, it must garner nine Security Council votes and avoid being vetoed by any of the council's five permanent members.

© 2011 AFP

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