News / Middle East

Fatah Official Says Palestinians Will Seek Full UN Recognition

Palestinian leaders appear ready to pursue full recognition from the United Nations despite American warnings that such a move would be counterproductive to Mideast peace efforts.

A senior Fatah official said Tuesday that the Palestinians will go ahead with their bid for full U.N. membership next week at meetings in New York.

Mohammed Shtayyeh's comments at a news conference in Ramallah come days before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to officially outline the Palestinian strategy on Friday.

Abbas and Palestinian representatives have been meeting with officials of the Arab league this week to craft a plan to put before the U.N.

Palestinians say they are seeking U.N. recognition after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver an independent Palestinian state. President Abbas backed out of U.S.-led talks last year after Israel resumed settlement construction on land Palestinians want for a future state.

Israel opposes a unilateral Palestinian move towards statehood.

Meanwhile, Turkey's prime minister said Tuesday that the time has come for the Palestinian flag to fly at the United Nations.  Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Arab ministers meeting in Cairo that Turkey will support the Palestinian bid, saying it is not an option, but an "obligation."

Erdogan's visit to Egypt is part of an Arab tour that will also include Libya and Tunisia.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he would "object very strongly" to a possible push for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, promising the U.S. would use its veto if the motion reaches the U.N. Security Council.   

It remains unclear whether Abbas will seek full recognition from the Security Council as a member state of the U.N., or instead seek "non-member status," which only requires a simple majority from the 193-member General Assembly.

Palestinians currently hold observer status at the world body.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland argued Monday that neither course of action would lead to a "stable, secure state," saying that Palestinians and Israelis "have to do this through negotiations."

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU had not "formulated a position" because Palestinians had not yet put a resolution on the table.

Arab League members have said that Arab countries had agreed to apply to the U.N. for a "full-fledged" Palestinian state.

Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a return to negotiations, saying that an "independent, sovereign" Palestinian state was "long overdue."

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

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