UN recognition not unilateral move: Palestinians
The Palestinian leadership will seek United Nations recognition of their independent state, a top Fatah official said in Moscow on Tuesday, but insisted it was not a "unilateral" move.
"We're going to the United Nations to seek membership for the state of Palestine and recognition on the 1967 borders, but we don't consider that a unilateral move," Azzam al-Ahmed told AFP after Fatah, Hamas and five other factions held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We do not intend to unilaterally declare independence," he added after a weekend of talks in the Russian capital between the various factions about a recently-signed unity deal.
The Palestinian leadership has said it plans to seek UN recognition and membership in September following the collapse of peace talks with Israel late last year in a dispute over ongoing settlement construction.
The plan has drawn opposition from Israel and the United States, though Ahmed said Russia had offered support for the move. He did not say whether Moscow had pledged to vote in favour.
"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed at yesterday's meeting that Russia supports this process," he told reporters.
The factions were meeting in Moscow just three weeks after Fatah and Hamas signed a landmark reconciliation agreement aimed at ending years of bitter rivalry between the two Palestinian national movements.
The deal, which was signed by a total of 13 Palestinian groups, calls for the formation of an interim government of independents which will prepare for legislative and presidential elections within a year.
Lavrov on Monday reaffirmed Russia's support for the Palestinian reconciliation process, which Israel has condemned because of the involvement of Hamas.
Both Washington and Israel designate the Islamist movement a terrorist organisation.
© 2011 AFP