US, Russia study how to defuse Palestinian UN row

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The United States and Russia sought Monday to find a path back to Israel-Palestinian peace talks and avert a showdown over a Palestinian bid for UN membership as a state, a senior US official said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed "elements" of a statement to be drafted by the Quartet of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, the official said.

The pair "agreed that the Quartet envoys should continue working to find a way forward among the Quartet in the form of a statement that helps establish a pathway back to negotiations over time," he told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"They also talked about what some of the elements might look like in a statement that could provide a useful framework or context for negotiations between the two sides," the official said.

"They were not looking at specific words or going through lines of text," the official added.

"They were looking at elements that would be necessary from their perspective not to deal only with the context of New York this week but to deal with a conflict that's been going on for years and decades," he said.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas Monday set a collision course with Israel and the United States, determined to try to force a vote on his bid for full UN membership for a Palestinian state.

Flying in the face of strong opposition, Abbas met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to tell him he would go ahead with the controversial move on Friday despite mounting international pressure to put off the attempt.

The move is a direct challenge to the United States, which has already said it will impose its veto if the Security Council votes on the issue.

© 2011 AFP

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