News / Middle East

Western Envoys Try Mediation Ahead of Palestinian UN Bid

Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) welcomes European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton prior their meeting at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, September 14, 2011
Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) welcomes European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton prior their meeting at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, September 14, 2011

Western envoys are shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the Middle East to try to limit the fallout from an Israeli-opposed Palestinian plan to seek state recognition at the United Nations.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton released a statement Wednesday saying she hopes that in the coming days, mediators will be able to achieve "something" that enables negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Ashton said she extended her stay in Jerusalem to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a second time on Wednesday, at the prime minister's request. A day earlier, she met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there will be "grave consequences" if Palestinians proceed with a plan to seek U.N. membership for an independent Palestine during next week's General Assembly meeting. Lieberman did not specify what the consequences would be.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday the Palestinian plan is "counterproductive" to peace talks, which he called the only path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. envoy David Hale and senior White House aide Dennis Ross were expected to meet with Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem late Wednesday, before traveling to the West Bank for talks with Mr. Abbas on Thursday. Toner said U.S. officials are trying to "avert any sideshow in New York," where the U.N. headquarters is based.

Mr. Abbas is scheduled to outline his government's strategy for statehood on Friday.

Palestinians say they are seeking U.N. recognition after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver an independent state. President Abbas backed out of U.S.-led peace talks last year in protest at Israel's decision to end a freeze in settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

It is not clear if Mr. Abbas will seek U.N. Security Council approval of U.N. member status for an independent Palestine, or instead seek "non-member status" within the world body.

The United States says it will veto a Palestinian membership bid in the Security Council. Achieving non-member status requires only a simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly. Palestinians currently hold observer status at the world body.

Some Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday the Republican-led House could vote to cut U.S. aid to the Palestinians if they proceed with the U.N. bid.

But, former U.S. deputy national security adviser Elliot Abrams urged the committee to avoid a hasty aid cut, saying U.S. security assistance to the Palestinians benefits the interests of Israel and the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid