Palestinians confident on UN settlement resolution

19th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement building is to be put to the vote in February, with support from Russia and France, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the UN Security Council would vote on the resolution after a meeting of the Middle East Quartet, the international grouping that supports Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The Quartet's members -- Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations -- are to meet on February 5 in the German city of Munich.

Erakat said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who visited the West Bank for the first time on Tuesday, "informed us that Russia would vote for the resolution."

France, which like Russia is also a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas it planned to support the resolution, Erakat told AFP.

But the position of the United States, which has often vetoed UN resolutions directed at Israel, remains unclear, he said.

Erakat said the resolution would be presented to the Security Council "in the coming days."

The Palestinians, with Arab League support, are seeking a resolution condemning Israel's continued settlement construction, after the United States acknowledged it had failed to win a new freeze on the building.

A 10-month Israeli moratorium on settlement construction on the occupied West Bank ended in late September, torpedoing direct talks which had begun only three weeks earlier.

The Palestinians have said they will not resume negotiations while Israel is building on land they want for their future state.

© 2011 AFP

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