Italy warns against Palestinian UN bid

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The Palestinian Authority should give up its push for statehood at the United Nations, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini urged Wednesday, saying such a bid could be "divisive."

In an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Frattini said: "It would be a mistake now for the Palestinians to demand recognition as a state in the (UN) Security Council."

"This is divisive. It would be unpleasant also for several Arab states. Think what would happen if the United States vetoed it. Millions would be disillusioned," he said in comments published in German.

The Palestinians are preparing to submit a formal request to become the 194th member of the United Nations, despite US and Israeli opposition, when the General Assembly begins its meetings on September 20.

The bid has prompted a whirlwind bout of shuttle diplomacy with US and European envoys travelling to the Middle East to ease tensions over the bid.

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Wednesday of "harsh and grave" consequences if the Palestinians persist with the bid.

Washington has also said it would veto any bid to the Security Council, arguing that a Palestinian state should be created only through negotiations.

© 2011 AFP

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