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Palestinians Push for U.N. Resolution Despite US Concerns

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (R) in Paris, December 15, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (R) in Paris, December 15, 2014.

The Palestinians say they will introduce a draft U.N. Security Council resolution setting a deadline for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, despite U.S. fears it will only heighten tensions in the region.

The Palestinian U.N. ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said the plan for a two-year timetable for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would be introduced Wednesday in a form that can be voted on.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to develop a response.

In comments to reporters ahead of his meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in London, Kerry said it is imperative to lower tensions so there is an opportunity to find a path toward genuine peace.

"We all understand the challenges that are presented by this conflict. We all understand that there are pent-up frustrations on both sides and they run deep. We all know the risk of escalation is constant and it's real," said Kerry.

Kerry said the United States has made "no determination" about any possible U.N. resolution regarding Palestinian statehood.

Following his talks with Erekat, Kerry met with Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby. The meetings come a day before Palestinian diplomats say their proposed resolution could be put before the Security Council.

The talks in London follow Kerry's multi-stop effort Monday to assess the situation, which included talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome and the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany in Paris.

The proposal, circulated by Jordan, sets a two-year deadline for the end of Israeli occupation.

Another proposal being discussed by France, Britain and Germany would set a deadline only for the resolution of peace talks.

A Security Council resolution would need the approval of nine of the 15 members. Any of the five permanent Council members can veto a resolution. That group includes Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States, which has used the prospect of a veto to prevent previous Council action related to Israel.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the U.S. promised to block any Palestinian U.N. resolution. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has "made no determinations" regarding any potential resolution.

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